Apple is about to get rid of another port from its new iPhone, a year on from removing the headphone jack – but this time around a replacement connection is on the way.
The 2017 iPhone, expected to arrive in the third quarter of the year, will be charged via an industry-standard USB type-C port instead of Apple's own Lightning connection, insiders claim.
Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, the anonymous people, who are claimed to be familiar with Apple's plans, say USB-C will be the new iPhone's only physical connection and it will also appear on peripheral devices, potentially marking the beginning of the end for the Lightning port, which first appeared on the iPhone 5 in 2012 and has been used exclusively by Apple ever since.
The move will no doubt anger Apple customers, just as when the company switched from its 30-pin connection to Lightning five years ago, but the move to USB-C makes sense given how the port is used by most of Apple's smartphone competitors. Samsung, Google, Sony, LG and HTC all use the port on their flagship handsets. As well as USB-C, the next iPhone is also expected to have wireless charging for the first time.
Curved OLED display coming to new iPhone
The same sources have also revealed there will be three versions of the 2017 iPhone, expected to be called the iPhone 8. Two will use the same LCD screen technology as current iPhones, but one new model will feature an OLED screen. Standing for organic light-emitting diode, OLED displays produce brighter and more vibrant colours, and deeper blacks.
Not only will Apple bring OLED to one of its new iPhones, but that handset's screen will also be curved, similar to the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge from 2016. The screen is expected to bend over one or both sides of the iPhone 8, but for now it isn't clear what purpose the extra surface area will serve.
A curved OLED screen will give Apple an opportunity to refresh the iPhone's design, which has changed little since the iPhone 6 of 2015 and is starting to feel dated compared to the latest Android handsets revealed at Mobile World Congress in February. The iPhone 8's biggest rival, the Samsung Galaxy S8, will be announced on 29 March and it too is expected to feature a curved OLED display.
Finally, the WSJ sources say Apple will remove the iPhone's home button. The physical clicking action was removed for the iPhone 7 in 2016, replaced with haptic feedback designed to simulate a clicking sensation when pressed; but for 2017 and the iPhone 8 the circular button and Touch ID sensor could disappear entirely.
Rumours claim the display will stretch to the bottom edge of the phone, with the space currently occupied by the home button replaced by space for software icons, similar to the Touch Bar of the new MacBook Pro.