New iPhones Leak Ahead of Launch

Posted on September 11, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in iOS with 67 Comments

New iPhones Leak Ahead of Launch

I don’t normally (ever?) write about Apple leaks, but this one is a potential blockbuster.

Thanks to a series of leaks, we’ve learned a lot more about the new generation of iPhones and other devices that Apple will announce tomorrow, Tuesday, September 12. Amusingly, the device leaks come from another leak, of the iOS 11 “GM” code (which is like RTM in the Windows world; it just means “the final version of the product ahead of general availability”). Basically, developers have been tearing into this code to see the devices that it references. And they’ve turned up a ton of information about the new iPhones and about a few other upcoming Apple releases.

Here’s what we’ve learned.

Three new iPhones. As expected, Apple will announce three new iPhones tomorrow.

Not the names we expected. We’ve long referred to these phones as the iPhone 7S, iPhone 7S Plus, and iPhone 8. But different leaks suggest different names, like the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X, the latter of which might be iPhone X Edition. (The “X” is obviously a reference to the iPhone’s 10th anniversary, which happened back in June.) The first two will retain the basic design of today’s iPhones, whereas the expensive new X will be completely new.

What makes the iPhone X special. Multiple sources confirm that the iPhone X will have a near-bezeless design with an 1125 × 2436 AMOLED display that supports the True Tone technology that debuted in the iPad Pro. It includes 12 MP (rear, dual) and 7 MP (front) cameras. It will require 3D facial unlocking because there’s no Home button (and Apple couldn’t figure out how to integrate that tech into the screen).

RAM. According to Steven Troughton-Smith, the iPhone 8 will have 2 GB of RAM, while the 8S and X will have 3 GB of RAM.

Wallpapers. 9to5Mac has leaked the wallpapers that Apple will include with iOS 11 (and thus with these new phones).

There are other related leaks, too.

Apple TV. Yes, Apple will announce a 4K-capable Apple TV, finally. Troughton-Smith says it will have a three-core A10X Fusion CPU and 3 GB of RAM and will play 4K video at 60 FPS.

Apple Watch. While it’s not clear how Apple will market this, a new Apple Watch with integrated LTE has been confirmed. It looks physically identical to the current Series 2 design but sports a red-accented digital crown.

AirPods. Apple will issue a minor revision to its curiously popular AirPods wireless headphones. Basically, the charging indicator light has been moved.

I suspect there will be further leaks today, but this all looks pretty solid.

Regarding tomorrow, I’m heading to New York City for a meeting in the morning and I’ll cover Apple’s event live on Twitter as usual. (I may miss the beginning, but that’s the plan.)


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Comments (69)

69 responses to “New iPhones Leak Ahead of Launch”

  1. Mr. Smith

    Boring.. "potential blockbuster".. not even close.

    • offTheRecord

      In reply to Mr. Smith:

      Surely, they've got a trick or two up their sleeve(?) A glass body, facial recognition unlock (Hello, anyone?) and even higher resolution (on a ~5" screen -- even if it is OLED) don't seem overly compelling.

    • Nicolas De Roo

      In reply to Mr. Smith:

      I was also wondering which part of the leaks is really the potential blockbuster... Nothing much jaw dropping... Then again, most media's jaw usually drops at the mention of Apple alone.

    • BrianEricFord

      In reply to Mr. Smith:

      The potential blockbuster relates to the fact that a rogue employee leaked something like this to the press.

      As to whether it's "boring" or not, not really expecting to find a lot of people on this site feeling otherwise.

      Not sure why people expect any smartphone manufacturer to release something gasp-inducing this late in the product maturity cycle, though.


      In reply to Mr. Smith:

      For Microsoft Fans, you can't help but to be skeptical and snarky... it's all you have left really ... Since Microsoft completely screwed all of it's mobile initiatives.

      But for Apple Fans, this is Christmas Morning. Even if we don't buy the iPhone X, we'll pick up new features in whatever iPhone we eventually upgrade to.

      • MikeGalos

        In reply to TEAMSWITCHER:

        Yes, if all you know is Apple then anything Apple catches up with is "new".


          In reply to MikeGalos:

          You aren't wrong. Apple Mobile is the only thing I have used for the last 10 years now. The cost of switching to something comparable is too high. I have too much invested in the Apple Eco System. But know this ... I don't regret my decisions. Can Windows Phone users say the same? No sir, they cannot.

          • Lauren Glenn

            In reply to TEAMSWITCHER:

            I used to use iOS but got bored with it. I bought an old Android phone (ASUS Padfone X) which I rooted and installed Marshmallow on with great results. For $120, can't beat it. It cost about $25 to unlock it to run on T-Mobile but that's about it. I have no need to upgrade for a while until the Play Store stops supporting Marshmallow which is probably a couple of years away, I bet.

            There really isn't much compelling me to upgrade though. These gimmicks or "features" that they're adding are not things I want to use. I don't need a stylus, the screens are smaller than my Padfone (6" vs 8.9") and I don't play games on it (I have a Switch). Music gets played on my iPod Classic which was upgraded to about 200GB with room to expand another 800GB.

            Sell me an iPhone with hi-res audio (audiophile quality) and sell ALAC hi-res audio in the stores and maybe I'll buy it. Of course, we'd need about 512GB storage or at least 200GB to make that something usable where I can put my whole collection on in lossless and add videos. But still.... do something exciting, Apple, please?

          • skane2600

            In reply to TEAMSWITCHER:

            The hundreds of dollars that WP users have saved over the years by not buying an iPhone isn't the stuff of regret. If you can afford to be heavily invested in the expensive Apple ecosystem, good for you.

            • James Wilson

              In reply to skane2600:

              I had an iPhone 4 when they came out. When the iPhone 4S came out, I thought the price was outrageous so dipped my foot into the Windows phone ecosphere and bought a Lumia 635. Very low end. I did like it though so then bought a 930 and now a 950XL. I still have my Mac Pro, my Apple TV and bought an iPad mini (v3).

              funny thing is - my 635, 930 and 950XL and iPad mini cost about around the same price as 1 and a half iPhones. You don't have to give anything up.

  2. Tony Barrett

    Jeez. Is it that time of year already again! Time for nap I think.

  3. carlrhorn

    Will you be heading to the rattle and hum for a few cocktails after?

  4. pwrof3

    I'm sorry, but that notch is the ugliest thing I have ever seen. I'm surprised Ive had anything to do with that.

    Here's hoping this will be changed for next year's phones.

  5. rameshthanikodi

    If they can get 'FaceID' to work right then this phone will be a success. Will be surprised if they can pull it off. However....I think the real turn off of this phone will be its pricing. I think the pricing is going to make many people do a double-take and perhaps decide not to buy, that they don't need to fork out so much for a smartphone.

    • Lauren Glenn

      In reply to FalseAgent:

      Pulling it off is one thing. Seeing how quickly it's hacked is another. Why even buy this without Touch-ID if the next generation of this next year will have touch ID supposedly? It would be like getting the first iPad and then they introduce one with a camera and it becomes the minimum standard through iTunes 9 while the first one dies forgotten after iOS 5.

    • wright_is

      In reply to FalseAgent:

      The iPhone 7S already costs the wrong side of $1,000 in Europe (iPhone 7 32GB is $909.58, iPhone 7S 32GB is $1,077, the 256GB version is already $1,436.96 at today's exchange rates). So I guess the anniversary version will be well over $1,500 over here.

      • rameshthanikodi

        In reply to wright_is:

        over $1, That is crazy. I really can't imagine anyone except the most staunch Apple fan as seeing it as a tough pill to swallow.

        • wright_is

          In reply to FalseAgent:

          That is probably why it has a very low presence in many parts of Europe (under 16% market share).

          Edit: In Germany, its current market share is below that of Windows Phone at its height.

        • offTheRecord

          In reply to FalseAgent:

          I suspect most in Europe aren't buying iPhones outright, but rather are getting them with 2-year contracts. Usually, the new iPhones are €99 upfront with a 2-year contract. Sometimes there's a special where it's only €1 upfront. The contracts I've seen typically range from €30 - €100 per month.

          • wright_is

            In reply to offTheRecord:

            T-Mobile Germany Magenta S contract without a phone costs 28€ ($33) a month, with a smartphone it costs 39€ ($46) a month (so 11€ ($13) a month subsidy for the phone). The iPhone 7 128GB on that contract costs 549€ ($647). So the iPhone 7 128GB on that contract costs 1,485€ or $1779.

            The best deal I could find there was the L+ contract, which costs 88€ a month with phone (66€ without) and the phone costs only 49.95€. Over the two years that is 577€, which is a bargain on that contract, but that is one heck of a premium on the monthly price.

            To put it in comparison, I am on Congstar for 12,50€ a month without phone. I bought a Nexus 5X on Amazon last time round for under 450€.

            • offTheRecord

              In reply to wright_is:

              I suspect most folks aren't doing such a detailed analysis to see the real cost of their iPhone; otherwise, I would think no one in their right mind would get one via a 2-year contract. And with the abundance of affordable prepaid plans there in Germany, such as Congstar, Aldi Talk, etc. it's a wonder anyone signs a contract for 2 years -- but, of course, you have to buy the phone outright, first, if you go the prepaid route.

              RE: the Nexus 5X, make sure you have a good real-time backup strategy. From what I understand, it's a question of when, not if, the phone will suffer from the Bootloop disease. And it usually happens with no warning. That's what happened to mine. One minute it was working fine, I put it on my desk, picked it up a few minutes later and it was off. I attempted to turn it back on and it started bootlooping. When that happens, there's almost no chance it'll boot far enough for you to actually grab data off the phone. I was able to get into recovery mode to wipe the phone before sending it off for replacement, but was never able to boot it to recover any data. Fortunately, I had photo and text message backup turned on, so I didn't loose any irreplaceable data.

              Since I bought mine from the Google Store and this is a known hardware defect, Google is replacing my phone for "free" (with a refurbished unit, naturally) even though I've owned the phone for nearly 21 months and it's 9 months out of warranty.

  6. MikeGalos

    Hmm, high res OLED screen, wireless charging, face recognition...

    Wow, Apple invented the Lumia 950

    OK, to be fair, only the face recognition is from the Lumia 950. The rest is from the Lumia 1520 from 4 years ago.

  7. red.radar

    Will reserve final judgement till Apple makes their announcement. However, the "X" model has the impression of being half baked and more of a beta phone. An Apple insiders edition product per say. I am not certain I am keen on the 3d facial recognition unlock. I think I prefer touch - id.

  8. bsd107

    Really disappointed in the lack of TouchID...

  9. skane2600

    IMO eliminating the home button just because they couldn't get it to work under glass is really lame. Sometimes the best conclusion to draw from the inability to implement a tech idea is to consider it flawed in the first place.

  10. nanovak

    Is it just me, or does a 2.17:1 aspect ratio seem a tad too tall? I'm a big guy with large hands ... get your mind out of the gutter ;-) ... and I have trouble reaching everything on the 7 Plus one-handed, and that's 1.78:1. Wonder how big the device is ... if they've taken the 7 Plus screen and made it taller there's just no way this will work out well.

  11. Minok

    So at an irrelevant time - the day before it's officially announced, the confirmation is Apple may have really screwed the pooch with a tough ID less phone.

    Going from 7 to 8 suggests more changes than what's described. Maybe time to upgrade to the 6plus.

    If it's only added LTE on the watch that's not worth the purchase. At least the other models will be cheaper now in theory.

    The ATV might be a decent upgrade from my olde model.

  12. pwrof3

    The worst part is, you have that horrible notch, and the screen still has a bezel!

  13. drkokandy

    I can't imagine relying on Facial Unlock; I've had Android since the Galaxy Nexus when that was released and have never had much interest in enabling it. You'd think maybe they can do what Google does and put the fingerprint reader on the back, but I guess that would interfere with where they put the critically important Apple logo.

  14. mike2k

    Yawn* Bigger, faster, better camera, yada yada yada

    im sure the X version will be about $1k

  15. jimchamplin

    Not surprised to see the iPad-style Dock. I’m betting that it has the full iPad switcher UI.

  16. James Wilson

    Remember folks if you don't have an Apple device or Windows 10 PC to hand, you can stream the event to that ' dead' operating system, Windows 10 Mobile. Sorry Android users, nothing for you.

  17. crfonseca

    Facial, or iris, or any other form of imaging unlocking sucks on a phone.

    It's fine on a laptop, since the cameras, being on top of the screen which is the bit of the laptop people obviously stare at, are pretty much always pointing the right way, but on phones that's definitely not always the case.

    What you end up with is having to jiggle the phone around until in sees you and unlocks.

    And it doesn't help that, unless the cameras use IR and the phone has a IR emitter (like Microsoft's Lumia 950/950XL), they don't work so well in poor light.

    EDIT: Welp, seeing how the Face ID thingamajig failed during the presentation, I'm guessing Apple didn't get it either. Oh well!

    • unfalln

      In reply to crfonseca:

      Facial recognition in any form is a failure as far as I'm concerned. I haven't used any Fingerprint reader as I've been paying off a baby instead of replacing my Lumia 950XL, but the mere fact that the face scanner is passive instead of active (i.e. active meaning the user has to perform a simple action like placing their thumb on a scanner) makes the whole confirmation process really dodgy. The fact that the Lumia is tuned to look at your hairline instead of at your eyes makes it all the more awkward, but at least that means that I have to point the IR light at my eyeballs I guess.

      "Look at me when I'm talking to you!" *points your phone at you* *face scanned* "Haha unlocked! Where's your porn?"

    • wright_is

      In reply to crfonseca:

      And they tend not to work if you wear glasses. The 950 unlocked 1 in 10 times when I wore my glasses. Having to take off my glasses and put them back on again every time I want to unlock the phone is a pain...

      Still, I suppose having a fingerprint reader isn't much use to Johnny No-Fingers either... ;-)

      If someone can crack the facial recognition for people wearing glasses, it will be a big step forward.

      • Skolvikings

        In reply to wright_is:

        I don't know how it works on the Lumina, but on Windows 10 devices with facial recognition, you can have it scan your face with and without glasses, so it works either way. That said, Windows Hello facial recognition isn't as nice as I thought it would be. Mainly due to how slow it is. Fingerprint readers are much quicker.

        • sgbassett

          In reply to Skolvikings:

          My experience with Windows 10 Hello facial unlocking on my Surface Book (original version) has been outstanding. It works with or without glasses, day or night, dark or light.

        • wright_is

          In reply to Skolvikings:

          The Lumias used infrared iris recognition and it doesn't work well / reliably with glasses.

          • Wolf

            In reply to wright_is:

            My 950XL works well in light, in a dark room, with or without glasses. It even works with sunglasses, although considerably less reliably.

            • crfonseca

              In reply to Wolf:

              That's my point exactly. It works, but there are situations where it's unreliable. On the other side of the fight, so to speak, the fingerprint scanner always works, the only thing that makes it not work is if you're wearing gloves, but even then it's reliable, you know it won't ever work, so you won't waste any time even trying.

              Oh, and the Windows Hello system is much better these days, and if you look at the IR emitter it works amazingly fast. And yet, still not as fast as a fingerprint scanner.

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