Sometime this year (likely in October), Apple will launch the iPhone 8. This will be an important product release not just because it is another flagship phone, but it marks the 10th anniversary of the iPhone, the handset that transformed the market for cellular devices. Apple is expected to make a splash to celebrate the occasion, the question is how? According to a J.P. Morgan report, bundled AirPods could be Apple's big play, or at least one of them.
Apple famously (and controversially) eliminated the 3.5mm audio jack with the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, calling it a courageous act in its mission to push wireless technologies. To that end, it also introduced a set of Bluetooth-enabled AirPods. Unfortunately, AirPods are sold separately, and at a premium—a set of AirPods runs $159. Yikes! But hey, if you're looking a silver lining, at least shipping is free.
With the iPhone 8, the AirPods themselves might be free. That would be a pretty big value add to the iPhone if Apple goes that route, certainly more so than bundling in a pair of wired (Lightening port) EarPods that cost $29. Still, that alone is not worthy of a 10th anniversary product. To further differentiate the iPhone 8 from past models, J.P. Morgan also predicts it will sport an edge-to-edge (horizontally, not vertically) organic light emitting diode (OLED) display.
Switching from LCD to OLED would be a big upgrade, especially if it brings parity to the excellent Super AMOLED displays that Samsung uses on its flagship phones. In our opinion, Samsung makes some of the best quality mobile displays in the business.
It is hard to know what to make of these predictions. J.P. Morgan's record isn't exactly stellar when it comes to the guessing game. Its report also contradicts previous rumors that the iPhone 8 will feature a display that covers the entire front of the phone, similar to the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+. And then there is the issue of supply—current AirPod orders show a shipping time of six weeks.
More predictable are the core upgrades that we've come to expect with every flagship phone launch, iPhone or otherwise. It is reasonable to expect a new custom SoC that is faster with better graphics, and improvements to the front and rear cameras. Beyond those upgrades, we'll just have to wait and see what Apple has in store.