With at least five months to go before Apple reveals a new iPhone (or three new iPhones, if the rumours are to be believed), we already have a good idea of what the California company has up its sleeve.
Although images of the new handsets are yet to leak – apart from a schematic sketch claiming to be the iPhone 8 – the rumour mills and their sources have spoken. The loudest and most reputable claims come from Bloomberg and the often reliable Mark Gurman in an article conveniently published on the day Samsung lifted the review embargo for its latest iPhone rival, the Galaxy S8.
With this, and several other reports surfacing in recent weeks, here is everything we know so far about the iPhone 7S and iPhone 8.
How many new iPhones will launch and what will they be called?
Corroborating much of what we have already heard, Gurman's anonymous sources say Apple is preparing three new iPhones to launch this autumn, one more than normal. According to "people familiar with the matter," the three phones will include updated versions of the 7 and 7 Plus (called the 7S and 7S Plus), along with an entirely new handset. For now this is being referred to as the iPhone 8 but some believe it could be called the iPhone X for the handset's 10th anniversary, or the iPhone Edition, in a nod towards the high-end Apple Watch range of the same name.
Will the iPhone 8 be delayed?
This question has started to gain traction in recent weeks as insiders and analysts alike suggest the iPhone 8 will be difficult to find in shops until at least Christmas. Analysts believe embedding the Touch ID fingerprint sensor into the display (more below) is causing the setback.
A new research note written by Apple analyst Brian White states: "Our contact strongly believes the 5.8in iPhone 8 will be delayed by several weeks due to challenges around the 3D-sensing technology, but still in time for the December holidays. This is not the first time that we've heard about a potential delay with a new iPhone; however, our contact was so emphatic about the delay that we are taking this data point more seriously."
iPhone 8: Design
While the pair of iPhone 7S handsets are expected to carry a similar look to the iPhone 6, 6S and 7, the iPhone 8 will finally break the three-year-old mould. The iPhone 8 will have an "overhauled look", the unnamed insiders said, with "a new type of screen, curved glass and stainless steel materials". There will also be more advanced cameras, with the potential for two on the front.
Like the Samsung Galaxy S8 and its Infinity Display, the iPhone 8's screen will cover "almost the entire front of the device," Bloomberg claims. This will result in a display slightly larger than the iPhone 7 Plus' 5.5in, but on a handset which is closer in overall size to the iPhone 7. This is very similar to how the Galaxy S8 has a screen larger than the S7 Plus but in a body the size of the S7.
Previous reports had claimed Apple will follow Nokia down the retro route with the new handset, by giving it a similar look to the original iPhone from 2007. This means we could see a return to the brushed metal look of the first iPhone, with curved edges at the top and bottom.
The iPhone 8 and another new home button
The iPhone 7 was the first Apple handset to remove the physical clicking movement from the home button, replacing it with a fixed system which issued haptic feedback which feels like a click when pushed. For the iPhone 8, Apple will go a step further and integrate this click-mimicking technology into the display itself, just as Samsung has done with the Galaxy S8. This means the large 'chin' of the iPhone, the space below its screen, will be no more.
For now it isn't clear where the Touch-ID fingerprint scanner will go. Some believe Apple is trying to embed it into the display, but others claim this is proving difficult and could be scrapped, resulting in the sensor relocated to the back of the one – just like on, you guessed it, the Galaxy S8.
iPhone 8: Display
For the first time, Apple is expected to use an OLED display for the iPhone 8, while the 7S and 7S Plus retain the same LCD panels as the current lineup. As used by Samsung for several years, OLED screens offer darker, deeper blacks and richer, brighter colours.
iPhone 8: Cameras
With Samsung opting to use the same cameras as last year in its new handsets, 2017 is the year for Apple to come up with something new. "Significant" changes are coming, people familiar with the new iPhone claim. Two lens positioned vertically instead of horizontally (as on the iPhone 7 Plus) could improve photos, while dual lenses are expected on the front, too. As before, Apple is understood to be buying cameras for its new smartphones from Sony.
iPhone 8: Software
Apple will show off a new version of its mobile operating system, called iOS 11, at its annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in June. This software will ship on the three new iPhones the company has planned.