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iPhone 8 release date, rumours and price: Is Apple moving to facial recognition tech?

Last week, we thought the iPhone 8 might replace the Home button for a Touch ID system mounted on the power button. However, now it looks like Apple could be removing Touch ID altogether, and instead relying on a new technology for unlocking your phone or authenticating purchases.

According to code found in Apple HomePod by some eagle-eyed coders, the Apple is turning to facial recognition as the primary method of authentication – and that means it should be in the iPhone 8, too. It appears the word ‘pearl’ refers to Apple’s social recognition software, and it’s likely the next iPhone will use it for pretty much everything.

However, Apple could be using the new facial recognition technology in addition to fingerprint technology. Current recognition tech can be fooled by pictures, so it’s possible Apple will only use it for simple tasks like unlocking your phone, but require more user info such as fingerprint ID when completing purchases. As an iPhone owner, I’m hoping it’s the latter.

The only catch? The iPhone 8 could be Apple’s most expensive handset yet, with Forbes suggesting prices could start at $1,100 to $1,200, and only be available in 128GB and 256GB models.

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Everything we know about the iPhone 8

iPhone 8 could get wireless charging

According to a note by respected Apple analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo, the both the iPhone 7s, iPhone 7s Plus and iPhone 8 will be capable of charging without wires.

Kuo says Apple will enable the new feature using glass body and metal frame construction for its forthcoming headphones – and customers will need to buy an optional charging pad to make use of the feature. So far, so Apple. Instead it looks like you’ll only get a USB adaptor in the box.

According to Kuo, wireless charging will be enabled through an optional accessory that will be purchased alongside the new iPhones — it won’t be a default feature available out of the box. Qi wireless charging is in line with rumors that have predicted the iPhone 8 will support inductive charging rather than a true wireless charging feature.

This isn’t one of the more outlandish iPhone 8 rumours, and would make a lot of sense if it were true. Apple has been waiting for the right moment to add wireless charging to its smartphone line-up, and in 2017 it might finally catch up with the Android competition. What’s more, the idea that customers will have to pay for a further acessory to use the feature is also very, very Apple.

(above image: Gordon Kelly and Nodus iPhone 8 mockup)

We know the iPhone 8 release date, basically

Apple hasn’t announced anything about the iPhone 8 (7s) yet, but we already have a good idea of when it will be released. Apple tends to stick to a pretty rigid timeframe when it comes to iPhones, and a quick look at previous iPhone release dates will give a very good idea of when the next iPhone is due. Apple tends to release an iPhone every year in the last two weeks of September, so we should see the iPhone 7 around this time next year.

The next Apple handset could finally use an OLED screen

For the past few years we’ve expected Apple to put an OLED screen in the iPhone, and now the Sharp CEO, Jeng-wu Tai, has pretty much confirmed the iPhone 8 (7s) will have one.

Late last year, Tai said: “The iPhone has been evolving and now it is switching from LTPS to OLED panel. We don’t know whether Apple’s OLED iPhones will be a hit, but if Apple doesn’t walk down this path and transform itself, there will be no innovation. It is a crisis but it is also an opportunity.” Tai is an executive at Foxconn, the parent company of Sharp, and also the people that make the iPhone – so it’s very likely he’s privy to some serious insider knowledge.

Apple will be moving to a vertical camera

A new report from iDrop suggests the iPhone 8 will have a new, vertical camera. The information comes from a Foxconn source, and states that the new iPhone 8 Edition will have a vertical dual-camera, rather than a horizontal one. iDrop says the iPhone 8 will also feature a double camera set up above its screen too. iDrop’s source also says the iPhone 8 won’t have an under-screen Touch ID sensor, but will use an OLED screen, with an edge-to-edge display just like the Samsung Galaxy S8.

The next iPhone 8 won’t have bezels or Touch ID

According to a new report by Forbes, the new iPhone 8 design has been finalized, and mocksup they’ve created imagine an evolution of the outgoing iPhone 7. The new design could feature an enlarged elongated 5.8 inch display – a bit like the Samsung S8 – and it’ll be framed by much thinner bezels than before, with Forbes giving a figure of 4mm.

As expected, the headphone jack looks to be gone for good, although Forbes suggests “USB Type-C may feature on the wall plug as part of a wider move to finally adopt fast charging.”

The Home button’s location is still in flux, but instead of going to the rear of the device, it’s possible Apple is moving it to the power button on the side of the iPhone 8. If true, it’s a move that emulate some of Sony’s smartphones, and comes with two key benefits. It gives the iPhone 8 even more screen space, and it’s also a more ergonomic solution than putting a Home button on the back of the phone.

Rumours are suggesting the iPhone 8’s power button could be almost twice the size of the iPhone 7’s, and that may be a direct result of its new functionality.

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