Apple's iPhone 8 is going to totally change the way we use and think about the iPhone.
Thanks to reports from well-connected journalists and analysts, we have a good idea of what Apple's going to pack into the high-end iPhone 8, and some of these features may trickle down to the iPhone you're holding right now.
The new iPhone is expected to offer a large screen that takes up almost the entire front of the phone, without the large blank spots (bezels) surrounding the screen. That matches what other companies like Essential, Samsungand LG are doing, and it will allow users to carry a big screen without requiring a massive pocket-hogging phablet to go with it.
But that move will have an interesting side-effect: Apple will completely ditch the home button on the iPhone 8, according to a Bloomberg report that lines up with dummy units that leaked out of Apple's supply chain and a variety of analysts, including JPMorgan's Rod Hall.
Instead, users will rely on certain gestures, or swipes across the screen, to return home or switch between applications, according to Bloomberg.
The home button is where Apple typically stores Touch ID, its fingerprint scanning solution, so either Apple is moving Touch ID to the back, or relying entirely on new facial recognition technology to identify you.
All of this will require you to relearn how to use your iPhone. Currently, you only need to tap the home button to return to the main screen with all of your apps on it. How will that work with the new iPhone? Apple still needs to tell us.
With no home button, how will you unlock your phone?
Simple: Apple is reportedly going to include 3-D sensors that can detect a user's face and unlock the phone in an instant.
This means you won't have to rely on typing in a passcode or using a fingerprint. Samsung implemented similar technology starting with the Galaxy S8 (pictured above), and it's incredibly quick, but Apple will need to explain how it's secure.
Samsung's face scanner can be tricked with a picture (users are better off taking advantage of the iris scanner), so perhaps Apple's new 3-D sensor, reportedly provided by Largan Precision, will close that security hole.
Apple may be planning identify a user by face for mobile payments, too, since Apple Pay isn't going anywhere.
Augmented reality, or AR, sounds like a buzzword, but soon it's going to become a household term.
Think of it like this: AR lets you take the real world and overlay parts of the digital world on top of it. Maybe you're at a restaurant and, instead of guessing what the food looks like, you'll be able point your phone at the menu and have 3-D images of each meal pop up on your display. Or, as Ikea showed us, imagine placing furniture throughout your house and being able to see on your phone exactly how it fits and looks in each room before buying it.
This isn't science fiction, it's coming soon.
Apple's ARKit is a set of tools that developers are already using to create AR applications that will launch this fall for millions of existing iPhones. The iPhone 8 is expected to take the most advantage of the new technology, perhaps thanks to advanced cameras.
Apple is late to the game, but all of its new iPhones will get wireless charging capabilities, according to KGI Securities' Ming-Chi Kuo. That means you won't need to fumble with a cord trying to plug your phone in the dark, just drop it on a charging pad and, boom, you're getting juice.
Adoption of wireless charging has been slow. There are competing technologies and you can charge faster by plugging your phone in. Apple may have worked to improve this, though, and given that everyone seems to adopt Apple's technologies, we might see charging pads everywhere from coffee shops to hotels.