What to Expect at Apple's September 2017 Event: Radically Redesigned iPhone, LTE Apple Watch and 4K Apple TV

We're just four days away from Apple's 2017 iPhone-centric event, and this year's keynote promises to be the most exciting we've seen since the larger-screened iPhones came out in 2014. For the first time in 10 years, the iPhone is getting a complete overhaul, both inside and out, with the most advanced technologies Apple has to offer.

While the new iPhone will be the star of the event, we're also expecting to see new versions of the Apple Watch and the Apple TV, both coming with some highly anticipated features. For an idea of what to expect on September 12, watch the video below and read the post for even more detail, but be warned: there are some serious spoilers here based on all of the rumors we've heard about Apple's plans so far.

5.8-inch OLED iPhone

It's been 10 years since the original iPhone was introduced, and to celebrate the anniversary of the device that changed the world, Apple has been working on a re-engineered iPhone that will dictate the next 10 years of smartphone development.

We started hearing the first rumors of a radically redesigned iPhone in early 2016. Hints of an OLED display came in March of 2016, and in May, Daring Fireball's John Gruber said it would feature an all-new form factor with an edge-to-edge display.

Apple tested more than 10 prototype devices while developing the new iPhone leading to considerable confusion over what we could expect, but over the last month or two, rumors have consolidated and given us a clear idea of what's coming.

The upcoming redesigned iPhone, which could be called the iPhone 8, the iPhone Pro, the iPhone Edition, or something else entirely, is expected to feature a 5.8-inch OLED display that's taller and slightly wider than the display of the iPhone 7 Plus, with rounded corners. It has super slim bezels around all sides, but there are no thicker bezels at the top or the bottom aside from a top "notch" that houses the front-facing camera and its accompanying sensors.

iphone8dummymodellock

An iPhone 8 dummy model based on design leaks

In a nutshell, it's all display. With no bottom bezel, there is no space for a Home button, and Apple is said to be shifting away from the Home button concept entirely. Rather than a virtual Home button, the new iPhone, which we'll refer to as the "iPhone 8," may adopt a gesture system similar to what's used for the iPad in iOS 11.

A thin, omnipresent bar at the bottom of the screen will be used to access the Home screen and the App Switcher when dragged upwards, with the gesture and an app dock replacing Home button functionality. As for that notch at the top, the traditional status bar icons, like time, signal strength, and battery, are split up and located to the left and right of the cutout.

iphone 8 health

A mockup of the iPhone 8 with gesture bar and top notch via Olivier Charavel

The iPhone 8's OLED display offers several benefits over a traditional LCD display, including brighter, more vivid and true-to-life colors, improved viewing angles, better contrast for whiter whites and blacker blacks, faster refresh rates, and the potential for better power efficiency when fewer pixels are lit.

That OLED display is built into an enclosure that's made of glass, a departure from the aluminum Apple has stuck with since the iPhone 5. The design of the iPhone 8 is actually similar to the iPhone 4 and 4s, featuring a glass body encased in a stainless steel frame with small antenna cutouts in the steel band for improved reception. Size wise, it's on par with the iPhone 7, but it will be taller, and the general body design is the same.

At the back, there are cutouts for a dual-lens vertical rear camera and flash, while one side features the standard volume buttons and mute switch. At the other side, there's an elongated sleep/wake button that's meant to be easier to press with one hand, and there is evidence it could be used for activating Siri.

iphone8dummymodeltrio

iPhone 8 dummy models in the three colors rumored for the device

Rumors suggest Apple will limit the number of colors available for the iPhone 8, and we can expect that glass body to be available in Silver, Black, and perhaps a more coppery shade of gold that's been referred to as "Blush Gold." iPhone 8 dummy models have been spotted in all colors and with both black and white front bezels, but rumors have been mum on whether Apple is truly planning a device with a white face, which could perhaps be jarring given the edge-to-edge display and the front notch.

Like the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus, the iPhone 8 will be water resistant and able to withstand splashes, rain, and other incidental water exposure. As with previous-generation devices, no headphone jack will be included.

Apple has opted for a glass body to implement an inductive wireless charging feature, similar to what's available for the Apple Watch. Said to be based on the Qi wireless charging standard, Apple's solution will allow the iPhone 8 to be charged wire-free using a separate accessory, but body contact between the iPhone and the accessory is required.

The iPhone 8 may charge at 7.5 watts of power, and its compatibility with existing Qi accessories is unknown. Qi is an open standard already used by many Android devices, but Apple may require manufacturers to acquire a Made for iPhone license before developing a charging accessory. Depending on Apple's methods to restrict inductive charging, it may not be available right out of the box - there have been rumors Apple will delay the feature and accompanying Apple-made wireless charging accessories until later in the year.

qi charging

A Qi wireless charging accessory made for Android devices

Along with its external revamp, the iPhone 8 will feature overhauled internal components, including a new biometric system replacing Touch ID: facial recognition. Facial recognition popped up in early iPhone 8 rumors, but until July, it was believed to be a feature that would co-exist with Touch ID, rather than replace it.

Apple seems to have experimented with putting Touch ID under the display of the device or on the rear of the device, based on rumors and prototypes, but neither of those ideas panned out. Instead of fingerprint-based authentication, the iPhone 8 will unlock the iPhone and authenticate payments/passwords with a new facial recognition system.

Screen Shot
Facial recognition as a replacement for Touch ID has been controversial with MacRumors readers given the poor implementation by other companies like Samsung and questions on how it will work, but Apple's technology is said to be superior to other solutions and more secure than Touch ID.

Using a 3D system built into the front of the iPhone 8, the device can be unlocked within a few hundred milliseconds, and it works from multiple angles, including when it's lying flat on a table or making an Apple Pay purchase in a store. The 3D sensor scans the topography of the face and collects more data than a fingerprint scan, so it is not able to be fooled by photographs or other facial replicas.

Because the iPhone 8 uses an infrared sensor to cast light on its surroundings to make the 3D face map, it also works in the dark and in other conditions where lighting is poor. It's not clear how Apple will deal with sunglasses and hats, but there are enough modern 3D facial recognition systems already on the market to suggest this is unlikely to be a major problem in Apple's solution. Machine learning, thermal imaging, and partial detection are all techniques that can be used to mitigate face blocking factors.

Aside from the addition of 3D sensors, we don't know much about the cameras on the iPhone 8. Those 3D sensors on the front-facing camera are likely to enable improved augmented reality features, and similar improvements could be made to the rear camera, which is oriented vertically instead of horizontally, supposedly for augmented reality purposes. Both lenses of the rear camera are expected to feature optical image stabilization, and while there will undoubtedly be other improvements, we don't know what they are yet.

iphone8dummymodeliphone7comparison

An iPhone 8 dummy compared to an iPhone 7 and 7 Plus

Powering the iPhone 8's new technology is an A11 chip manufactured on TSMC's 10-nanometer process for more power, better efficiency, and a smaller size. The device is rumored to include 3GB RAM, a stacked logic board design to make better use of space, and an L-shaped battery for longer battery life (think iPhone 7 Plus battery life in an iPhone 7-like form factor). Rumors on storage space have been mixed, but we could see 64, 256, and 512GB options.

Other rumored features we know little about include a new 3D Touch module, an enhanced Taptic engine with a high-performance motor for a wider range of tactile vibrations, fast charging with a USB-C power adapter, and speaker improvements with better sound consistency.


All of the iPhone 8's features aren't expected to come cheap. Pricing for the phone, which may be positioned as a high-end "premium" device, is expected to start right around $1,000. It could also be hard to come by for quite some time -- there have been persistent rumors of manufacturing issues and supply constraints, and recently, there's been a rumor suggesting the device won't ship out to customers until later in the year.

For more on the iPhone 8, make sure to check out our iPhone 8 roundup.

iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus

Apple plans to sell the OLED iPhone 8 alongside two more moderately priced devices, which are upgrades to the current iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. The iPhone 7s and the iPhone 7s Plus (these names are guesses too) won't get the OLED display or facial recognition system coming to the iPhone 8, but these devices are also expected to be significant upgrades over the previous generation.

The iPhone 7s and 7s Plus will continue to feature the same body style Apple has used for the last few years, with thick top and bottom bezels, a Touch ID Home button, and a standard LCD display. They will be available in 4.7 (iPhone 7s) and 5.5-inch (iPhone 7s Plus) sizes, and are likely to be priced similarly to the iPhone 7 (starting at $649) and iPhone 7 Plus (starting at $769).

iphone7splus

iPhone 7s Plus dummy next to iPhone 8 dummy, via Danny Winget

While the front of the two devices will look the same, they're expected to adopt glass bodies to support the same inductive wireless charging feature that will be available in the iPhone 8. Unlike that device, though, rumors suggest the more affordable devices will feature aluminum banding instead of stainless steel. With a glass backing, the new phones will work with the wireless charging accessories Apple is expected to release.

Inside, the iPhone 7s and 7s Plus will use the same A11 chip as the iPhone 8 so performance will be similar, but the devices will not include the same front and rear-facing camera systems. The iPhone 7s Plus is expected to continue using a horizontal dual-lens rear camera, while the iPhone 7s will continue using a single-lens camera. Neither device is expected to have the front-facing 3D sensor setup necessary for facial recognition, and both will continue to offer the traditional haptic-based Home button with Touch ID fingerprint authentication.

The two devices may only be available in three colors -- black, silver, and the same new coppery gold shade expected for the iPhone 8 -- and it's not entirely clear what storage options will be available. There will be no headphone jack and the bodies are expected to continue to be water resistant and able to stand up to light water exposure.

Most rumors have focused heavily on the iPhone 8, so if there are other internal component improvements coming to the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus, like better cameras, more RAM, or other upgraded features, those will be a surprise.

LTE Apple Watch

A third-generation Apple Watch will be introduced in September, and its main selling point will be an optional LTE chip that will allow the device to be fully uncoupled from the iPhone. Apple is expected to offer both LTE and non-LTE third-generation Apple Watch models.

Aside from LTE functionality, the new device may feature better battery life, an upgraded processor, and perhaps a few other improved internal components, but there won't be any "obvious change" to the form factor. There have been mixed reports about the design of the watch, so it's possible there could be smaller, less noticeable refinements and tweaks.

applewatchlte
Instead of major design changes, Apple is said to be focusing on under-the-hood improvements to boost performance and offer more battery to compensate for LTE connectivity.

Though the Apple Watch will feature LTE for standalone connectivity, it's not expected to be able to make traditional phone calls. VoIP calls are an option, though.

As always, we can expect the new third-generation Apple Watch to be sold alongside a selection of bands in new colors and perhaps new materials.

For more info on the third-generation Apple Watch, make sure to check out our Apple Watch roundup.

4K Apple TV

The Apple TV is expected to receive its first update since 2015, with Apple planning to introduce a refreshed set-top box that features a faster processor and support for ultra high definition 4K video playback.

Along with 4K, the new set-top box is said to support High Dynamic Range (HDR) video for brighter, more accurate colors.

appletv4khdr
Apple is planning to introduce 4K iTunes content to go along with the 4K Apple TV, but the company is having some trouble negotiating deals with content providers. Apple reportedly wants to charge $20 for 4K movies, while studios would prefer them to be sold for $25 to $30.

Aside from the addition of 4K support, we're not expecting any major changes to the Apple TV, and it is expected to continue to be available in the same form factor with Siri Remote.

For additional details on the new Apple TV, check out our Apple TV roundup.

Software Updates

Following Apple's iPhone event, we're likely to see golden master versions of iOS 11, macOS High Sierra, watchOS 4, and tvOS 11, representing the final software that will be released to the public.

Official public releases of watchOS 4, tvOS 11, and iOS 11 are likely to come a few days ahead of the official launch of the new iPhones, while macOS High Sierra could be released shortly after.

If you want to know more about Apple's upcoming software, we have detailed roundups available: iOS 11, macOS High Sierra, tvOS 11, watchOS 4.

Apple's iPhone event will kick off at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time on Tuesday, September 12. Apple plans to live stream the event, but if you can't watch, MacRumors will be live blogging the keynote both on MacRumors.com and our MacRumorsLive Twitter account. As always, we'll also have extensive coverage of the new devices following their introduction, so make sure to stay tuned.

Top Rated Comments

Hrududu Avatar
44 months ago
17" PowerBook G5
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JohnnyApple$eed Avatar
44 months ago
Is it just me or is the iPhone 8 the ugliest iPhone that Apple is going to produce? This camera sticking out for the 3rd time on an iPhone is absurd. Get this thing flush would you!?!?
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
udayan81 Avatar
44 months ago
No matter what they put on the inside, that phone looks hideous. Most certainly the top part looks so astoundingly ugly. Unbelievable if apple pulls that kind of design aesthetics out.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Porco Avatar
44 months ago
Soon we will know if the 'notch' will look seamless or frowny...

(Ok, yes part of me just wanted to post that one more time before the official announcement).

I still find this new iPhone redesign a bit odd from what I've seen of it, and whilst I'm pleased it's not truly edge-to edge (from a usability point of view) I am still a little bemused at the drive towards having such reduced bezels that the device has to lose the home button (and TouchID presumably) and adds the need for the notch.

Hopefully both Touch ID and the camera notch (frown? whatever we are gong to call it) can be somehow incorporated underneath the screen in future models, and that will be the best of all worlds.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jdillings Avatar
44 months ago
I expect Apple will announce some magical products that are their best ever and they think we're gonna love.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
HobeSoundDarryl Avatar
44 months ago
Ready to buy multiple 4K:apple:TVs with HDR ASAP.

At last!!!
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iphone 5s black slate

Images of Unreleased iPhone 5s in Black and Slate Shared Online

Sunday January 17, 2021 9:47 am PST by
Twitter user @DongleBookPro has today shared images of a prototype iPhone 5s in an unreleased Black and Slate color. The iPhone 5s was launched in September 2013. The device featured Touch ID, a 64-bit processor, and a True Tone LED flash for the first time. Other new features included a five-element lens with an f/2.2 aperture, a 15 percent larger camera sensor, Burst Mode, and Slo-Mo...
iP12 charge airpods feature 2

Hidden iPhone 12 Hardware Feature Could Still be Unlocked

Thursday January 14, 2021 2:51 am PST by
All iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models purportedly have a hidden reverse wireless charging feature, according to an FCC filing. The feature has not yet been activated, but could yet be unlocked for an upcoming Apple accessory. The FCC filing suggests that iPhone 12 models contain the hardware for Wireless Power Transfer (WPT) to accessories: In addition to being able to be charged by a...
Top Stories 43 Feature

Top Stories: MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac Pro, and iPhone Rumors, Best of CES 2021

Saturday January 16, 2021 6:00 am PST by
This week was sure a busy one in the Apple world, with a flurry of announcements out of CES early in the week followed by a rash of Mac- and iPhone-related rumors later in the week. The new rumors this week included details on updated MacBook Pro, iMac, and Mac Pro models, as well as a few other tidbits, so make sure to read on below to get caught up! Kuo: New MacBook Pro Models to...
foldable iPhone concept feature

Apple Testing In-Display Fingerprint Sensor for iPhone 13, Foldable iPhone Also in the Works

Friday January 15, 2021 1:46 pm PST by
Apple has started "early work" on an iPhone that has a foldable display, according to a new report from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Though testing of a foldable iPhone has begun, Apple has not committed to releasing a device that has a foldable display. Development has not yet expanded beyond a display and Apple does not have full foldable iPhone prototypes in its labs. Like foldable...
16inchmacbookpromain

Kuo: New MacBook Pro Models to Feature Flat-Edged Design, MagSafe, No Touch Bar and More Ports

Thursday January 14, 2021 9:32 pm PST by
Apple is working on two new MacBook Pro models that will feature significant design changes, well-respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a note to investors that was obtained by MacRumors. According to Kuo, Apple is developing two models in 14 and 16-inch size options. The new MacBook Pro machines will feature a flat-edged design, which Kuo describes as "similar to the iPhone 12" ...
macbook pro flexgate

Apple Extends 13-Inch MacBook Pro Backlight Repair Program

Sunday January 17, 2021 10:31 am PST by
Apple this week extended its worldwide 13-inch MacBook Pro Display Backlight Service Program, authorizing coverage for eligible notebooks for up to five years after the original purchase date or up to three years after the start date of the program, whichever is longer. The previous cutoff was four years after the original purchase date. Apple launched the program on May 21, 2019 after...
iphone x camera close

iOS 14.4 Will Introduce Warning on iPhones With Non-Genuine Cameras

Thursday January 14, 2021 8:07 am PST by
In the second beta of iOS 14.4 seeded to developers and public testers this week, MacRumors contributor Steve Moser has discovered code indicating that Apple will be introducing a new warning on iPhones that have had their camera repaired or replaced with aftermarket components rather than genuine Apple components. "Unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple camera," the message will...
Apple TV Ray Light 2 Triad

Apple Extends Free Apple TV+ Trials Until July

Friday January 15, 2021 10:50 am PST by
Apple is once again planning to extend its free Apple TV+ trial subscriptions, this time until July. When Apple TV+ launched in November 2019, Apple offered free Apple TV+ subscriptions to those who purchased a new Apple device in or after September 2019. Those free subscriptions were set to expire in November 2020, but in October 2020, Apple announced that it was extending free trials...
mac pro mini feature

Apple Working on Two New Mac Pro Desktops, One of Which Will Be Reminiscent of Power Mac G4 Cube

Friday January 15, 2021 10:23 am PST by
Apple is developing two versions of the Mac Pro to succeed the Mac Pro that was first released in December 2019, according to a new report from Bloomberg. The first updated Mac Pro is a direct successor to the current Mac Pro and it will use the same design. It may also be equipped with Intel processors rather than Apple silicon chips, and it could be one of the sole machines in the Mac...
macbook pro magsafe

MagSafe is Coming Back to the Mac: A Look Back at Apple's Original Magnetic Charging Technology

Friday January 15, 2021 12:16 pm PST by
Surprise late night rumors last night provided us with our first in-depth look at what we can expect from the new MacBook Pro models that are coming in 2021, and there are some significant changes in the works. Along with additional ports, a new flat-edged design, and the removal of the Touch Bar, Apple's updated MacBook Pro machines will readopt MagSafe. MagSafe in the 2021 MacBook Pro...