We're still nine months away from the next iPhones, but already plenty of rumours are starting to circulate — about their names, new features and potentially a brand new design. These headlines — and quite a few more for Android and Windows fans — after the break!
The 2017 iPhone: two competing rumours
There have been plenty of rumours surrounding next year's iPhone, which will mark the iconic product's ten year anniversary. Many reports have suggested big changes are to be expected, with Apple eschewing their normal tick-tock release schedule for something altogether more dramatic: the iPhone 8. However, other rumours suggest we'll see the usual modest upgrade: the iPhone 7S. Here are some details on each rumour.
Rumour 1: iPhone 7S — small changes, a new colour
A recent report from Macotakara suggests that we'll see two new iPhones in 2017: the iPhone 7S and iPhone 7S Plus. The phones will have the same design as this year's model, but will come in a new red colour scheme. They could also be powered by a new Apple A11 chip and come with some small camera improvements. Overall, this would be in keeping with Apple's previous release schedule, and would set up 2018 to be the year that bigger changes are introduced.
Above: We'd expect a similar colour to Apple's red iPhone 7 case, shown above
Rumour 2: iPhone 8 — big changes, new features
Before the Macotakara report, most rumours uniformly agreed that we'd see big changes next year. Common themes include an all-glass design and a larger curved OLED display, at least in one model. The OLED display would likely be made by Samsung, and would boast better contrast and lower battery usage. The fingerprint sensor and front-facing camera would move below the glass, while the traditional earpiece would be replaced by the same kind of piezoelectric speaker we saw on the Xiaomi Mi Mix. Wireless charging could also be added. With thinner bezels (or none at all) and no other surface components, the new iPhone would have a stunningly modern look.
Above: the Xiaomi Mi Mix, which was released earlier this year with incredibly thin bezels and a rounded rectangle display, could have influenced Apple's design choices
UK release date
One thing that isn't up for the debate is the release date. We expect that the iPhone will be launched in early September as usual, with shipments first arriving towards the middle of the month. For example, we could see an Apple event on September 6th, pre-orders would begin on September 8th, and phones would start arriving on September 15th.
Will we see the iPhone 7S or iPhone 8 next year?
Normally, I'd say that the iPhone 7S would be assured. Apple like to keep their cycles quite consistent, after all. Yet I'm more inclined to agree with the iPhone 8 camp, given that this will be the tenth anniversary iPhone, and also that we saw such minimal design changes from the iPhone 6 to this year's iPhone 7. We are due a big design upgrade, and I think 2017 is the perfect time to do it.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.
Super Mario Run demo available
Super Mario Run, the first real smartphone game from Nintendo, is now available as a demo on the App Store. The gameplay is similar to Temple Run, with your character endlessly running, but with a side-on view like other 2D Mario games. Each level can be replayed multiple times to collect several series of collectable coins. The full game will cost $10, making it one of the more expensive smartphone games, and requires the internet to run. However, there won't be any future paid DLC; your $10 gets you the full and complete game. It'll be out in full on December 15th, and will arrive on Android sometime next year.
Fitbit buys Pebble, shuts it down
Fitbit has agreed to buy popular e-ink smarwatch maker Pebble -- or at least, its employees and intellectual property. Fitbit won't be supporting Pebble's products, so support will soon end for these and Kickstarter backers of recent products may never get their promised goods. Instead, refunds will be issued. It's a big kick in the teeth to Pebble's passionate fans, who have kept the company afloat through hard times, but you can see the reason behind it.
Samsung will ditch headphone jack, physical home button for Galaxy S8
Next year's Galaxy S8 has big shoes to fill. As well as following up the widely successful and highly rated Galaxy S7, Samsung will be looking to offer a solid replacement for owners of the combustible Note 7. According to recent report from Bloomberg, Samsung will simplify the S8's design by removing both the 3.5mm headphone port and the physical home button that has featured on every past model. Instead, the phone will have a software home button as we've seen on Google's Nexus and Pixel phones. Bezels on the phone will be minimised or eliminated as we saw on Xiaomi's Mi Mix, and this may cause the fingerprint reader to move to the back of the phone as well. The phone is expected to be released in March or April, as usual.
Chrome for Android now allows downloads of web pages and more
A big new feature is arriving for Chrome on Android: downloading. You can now download web pages to read offline, and downloading videos, music and other media has also become easier. You can also share downloads with other users. The new features were designed for the Indian market, but will come in handy here in the UK too. As of Saturday the feature hasn't hit the UK app store, but it should arrive soon... or you can download it earlier from APK Mirror.
Microsoft demos Windows 10 running on Snapdragon mobile CPU
Microsoft have built a version of Windows 10 that runs on Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 processor, allowing mobile phones to run full versions of Windows apps like Photoshop. The brief demo is impressive, and should allow future Windows phones to transform into proper PCs. The current implementation of this, called Continuum, essentially runs phone apps on PC peripherals; this is something altogether more exciting. Rumours suggest that Microsoft will debut a Surface phone in the second half of 2017 with this capability, running off a Snapdragon 835 mobile processor. Microsoft definitely needs a shock to the system to save Windows Phone; could this be it?
Cortana now available in the UK
Microsoft's Cortana voice assistant was finally released in the UK for Android this week; an iOS version is coming in a few weeks. Once installed, you can ask the assistant questions, set reminders, check the weather and so on. The app also allows you remote access to your Android phone from your PC; you can see incoming calls and respond with text messages, for example.
Wow, what a news week! Thanks for checking it out, and be sure to let us know what you thought in the comments below.
Will is a gadget fanatic, working from cafes to turn coffee into technology articles. Follow him on Twitter @wsjudd.