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The Alleged iPhone 8 — Imitation Not Innovation?

Last year, we were told that the iPhone 7 would be a subpar upgrade. It would offer a case design quite similar to the iPhone 6s, and that’s all she (or he) wrote. It didn’t matter that the new model was water-resistant, had a better camera (or cameras with the iPhone 7 Plus) and other goodies that made it a worthwhile upgrade.

It was all about the looks.

So with reports of a very different look for the rumored iPhone 8 this fall, you’d think the critics would be satisfied. After all, weren’t they telling everyone to wait?

Well, as many of you know, the iPhone 8 will also supposedly be a subpar upgrade mostly because its key features will be similar to capabilities already present on competing gear. Forgotten is the fact that Apple is not always first with a feature or product. More often than not, Apple’s approach is to deliver a better alternate with that special coolness factor.

Don’t forget that there were digital music players before the iPod arrived, there were smartphones before the debut of the iPhone, and there were tablets years before Apple got into that game.

Just saying.

In any case, more and more speculation is now appearing about this next iPhone, or possibly an extra flagship model that’ll have extra goodies to honor its 10th anniversary.

So what are we talking about? Well, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, of KGI Securities, who is more often right than wrong, has right off the bat scotched reports that Apple might ditch the Lightning port in favor of USB-C on one or more of the new iPhone configurations.

Not that I expected that to change, although some might wonder why USB-C isn’t going to spread across Apple’s entire product lineup. Well, maybe it will, in time, but the supply chain chatter would probably reveal such a move by now. Remember how the rumors about the iPhone 7 had it right about the lack of a headphone jack.

In any case, although there will reportedly be a Lightning port, Apple will allegedly add what is called “Type-C Power Delivery,” which means faster charging. Yes, that’s something similar to what other smartphones already have. There will also be wireless charging capability, and again that’s nothing new.

Indeed, I do recall playing with an experimental wireless charging scheme about a decade ago. The company no longer seems to be around, but it was all about providing custom cases for different mobile gear, which allowed them to charge on their powered plates.

I had the feeling at the time that it was an awkward solution. Yes, I realize today’s Apple Watch has its own wireless charging arrangement, but it’s also a convenient night stand for these devices. These other wireless charging methods involve plugging in a plate to a wall socket. Something has to be plugged in, and leaving sensors on the mobile gear to touch the top of the plate to receive current. So is was still a form of contact even though no device cable is used.

In any case, the special edition or flagship iPhone may have a case made of all curved glass, with an edge-to-edge OLED display. The other notable changes reportedly involve the removal of a physical Home button, and embedding Touch ID, the FaceTime camera, and the speakers in the screen. Apple will also include a 3D facial recognition capability that would allow for yet another secure login method. But the sort of elaborate face masks made famous in the “Mission Impossible” TV shows and movies probably won’t work.

I suppose those iPhone 8 features are original, and it may well be that Apple is doing all this to make it possible to fit a larger display — either 5.1-inch or 5.2-inch — in a case no larger than the 4.7-inch iPhone 7.

Again, this model will supposedly be marketed as a special model, therefore costing more than the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus. Rumors have it that it’ll be priced at over $1,000 US, even in a basic configuration, though that may still be for the one with 256GB of storage. If so, it would only make it slightly more expensive than the similarly configured “Plus.”

As to the rest of the lineup, it will be typical of an “s” upgrade, meaning the case might be mostly the same, except perhaps for wireless charging receptors. The inner workings will be given the appropriate enhancements befitting a product refresh, such as a faster processor (A11 Fusion?), a better camera, and maybe a few other goodies.

The speculation I’ve seen doesn’t mention whether the iPhone 8 will be fully water-proofed, or retain a water-resistant capability similar to today’s iPhone 7.

So the critics will not stop drilling into us about how last year’s iPhone and this year’s iPhone are all inferior to Samsung and other gear. Well, maybe some of them receive spiffs on the side from Samsung to state the outrageous, though that’s stretching it. The fact is that some people don’t like Apple, and don’t need any incentive to mouth off about them at any available opportunity. After all, some Apple customers don’t like Google, Samsung or Microsoft either, but maybe the opinions aren’t quite so extreme.