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iPhone 8 and beyond: The future of smartphones

David Price | June 24, 2016
Future smartphone developments, from graphene and lithium-air batteries to holograms, OLED and motion charging

iPhone 8 and beyond: Muted iPhone 7 and innovative iPhone 8

There's a growing sense that at the end of 2016 Apple's iPhone sales will again disappoint (on a relative scale, of course - it'll still outsell its main rivals many times over) because the iPhone 7 is set for a limited set of updates and new features. But everything will change in 2017, when the iPhone 8 blows us all away with a wide and radical range of enhancements.

Making predictions about the upcoming performance of Apple stock, analysts at Credit Suisse have forecast that the iPhone 8, to be released on the iPhone's 10-year anniversary in 2017 (skipping the 'S' generation in recognition of its major updates) will feature "significant innovations" such as a full-glass OLED screen, new and upgraded haptic feedback features, wireless charging and numerous major specs improvements including the camera and processor.

iPhone 8 and beyond

Kulbinder Garcha, one of the company's analysts, was sufficiently confident about the iPhone 8's performance to predict sales of 250 million units in fiscal 2018 (despite launching in the calendar year 2017, the iPhone 8's sales will be reported in 2018), compared to 215 million in 2017.

Garcha may be confident, but we're not so sure. Going three years between substantive updates to what remains by far its most profitable line in order to make a big launch match a big anniversary feels like a strange and risky strategy for Apple (we don't subscribe to Nikkei's theory that the company will follow a three-year cycle from now on), and with the Android sector pushing boundaries in a lot of ways this would inevitably result in accusations of stagnation - even more so than now.

iPhone 8 and beyond: When will the iPhone 7s and the iPhone 8 come out?

Before we think about new features you should expect in the iPhones of the future, let's talk about the likely release date schedule. We expect Apple's next batch of smartphones, the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus, to launch in the autumn of 2016: most likely September 2017.

After that point it gets harder to predict. Based on the past few years of Apple launches, the generation after that should be an S update: the iPhone 7s and the iPhone 7s Plus, launched together in autumn 2017 (with the potential of an iPhone SE 2 in spring of 2017, or moved back to launch with them in the autumn). The iPhone 8 - as well as the iPhone 8 Plus - would then finally be unveiled in September 2018.


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