The wait for the next iPhone is almost over. According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple (AAPL) has scheduled a product announcement event for Sept. 12 at which the tech giant is widely expected to launch the iPhone 8 with a host of new features.
It's now been ten years since Steve Jobs unveiled Apple's first iPhone at the MacWorld keynote in 2007, proclaiming it was an "iPod, mobile phone and internet communications device" all rolled into one.
All eyes are now focused on whether the iPhone 8 will pack show-stopping features reminiscent of those in the original iPhone that disrupted the tech market a decade ago.
A lot has changed since Apple's inaugural iPhone release, however.
For years, the iPhone drove Apple's astronomical sales growth (including a record-setting $18 billion profit in its 2015 first quarter). More recently, the company posted its first annual sales decline since 2003 in the second quarter of 2016, in large part because of slowing iPhone sales.
Analysts have attributed the decline to an increasingly saturated smartphone market, as Apple is forced to compete against devices from Samsung (SSNLF) and Alphabet's (GOOGL) Google unit, among others. Additionally, fewer iPhone users upgraded to the iPhone 7 from the iPhone 6, Cook said, and the company has also seen a noteworthy decrease in sales in Greater China.
Ever since the iPhone 7's release in September last year, rumors have swirled that the iPhone 8 will be markedly different from its predecessor in size, look and functionality. According to a March report from MacRumors that cited a Japanese website, the iPhone 8 could be named the "iPhone Edition," taking a page from the Apple Watch Edition, as a way to establish it as a higher end version of the iPhone.
Here's a rundown of what may be coming in the iPhone 8:
1. A larger, curved organic LED screen
In perhaps the most widely speculated rumor, the iPhone 8 is predicted to have a larger screen with curved edges and an organic LED (OLED) display. Apple is expected to release three phones this fall, including an updated iPhone 7 and 7 Plus that will remain 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches, respectively, as well as a fully redesigned iPhone 8 that will feature a display slightly bigger than the iPhone 7 Plus but an overall size similar to the iPhone 7.
The OLED screens improve a battery's life while enhancing display quality, creating deeper blacks and more vibrant colors. Samsung is rumored to be supplying the OLED screens to Apple, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources with knowledge of the matter. OLED technology also allows manufacturers to bend screens in ways that they aren't capable of doing with traditional liquid crystal display (LCD) technology, the Journal noted. This wouldn't allow a user to bend or fold the screen, but would allow Apple to update the look of its phones.
Samsung may face some supply constraints that limit the OLED screen upgrade to just the iPhone 8 Plus model, Barclays analyst Blayne Curtis said in a recent note.
"Only the Plus will move to OLED but there is not enough capacity at Samsung for both models," Curtis explained. "Sharp/Hon Hai OLED production is expected to come online in 2018 and solve this problem (some doubt how fast this can occur)."
The iPhone 8 is also expected to depart from its usual aluminum and glass designs by using a curved, plastic panel that creates a clean edge-to-edge, design. The body or back of the iPhone 8 is predicted to be glass, similar to what was used for the iPhone 4. Bloomberg reported that the new iPhone will have a stainless steel band around the device, in which the glass fits into, similar to the design used in the iPhone 4/4S.