Apple rumours & predictions 2017: The iPhone 8, new iPads, a mystery wireless device and everything else you should expect from Apple in 2017

2016 was an interesting year for Apple. It saw the introduction of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, albeit controversially without headphone jacks, and a return to the 4-inch form factor in the popular iPhone SE. The MacBook Pro line received its first major revision for a number of years, including the introduction of the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. Plus there was the release of the Apple Watch Series 2, a new 9.7-inch iPad Pro, and an apparently Brexit-related unwelcome hike in prices across the board.

So, what does 2017 have up its sleeves for Apple fans? Well, here at Macworld we’ve donned our prognostication hats, investigated every rumour and trend we could find, all to bring you our predictions for 2017. It looks like it could be a big year.

Last updated to include the news of a mystery wireless device that recently appeared in an FCC filing. 

Apple predictions for 2017: Apple Watch 3

Apple released the second generation of its Watch in September of 2016 which added GPS, internal upgrades, and water-proofing to the design. This was accompanied by the WatchOS 3 update that increased performance and functionality for not only the new models but also the original range.

We expect to see Apple announce the third iteration of its Watch in September 2017, hopefully for around the same price as the current models which start at £369, although that is far from certain after the increases we saw at the end of 2016.

 

There’s little in the way of firm evidence suggesting what the Apple Watch 3 will look like, but it’s fair to say that you should expect a model that’s very similar to the current version. Some experts have postulated that there could be a Watch S release in March of 2017 that would include additional storage space, but this remains a rumour at best. Several news sites have also specualted on the possibilty of a round display, much like the one found on the Moto 360 Android Wear device.

It’s widely expected that the Watch 3 will include a front facing camera that could be used for selfies or FaceTime calls, as Apple holds a patent for such a device and Watch OS 2 introduced support for FaceTime audio calls.

The new model is also likely to feature a Micro-LED display, which would be lighter, thinner, and brighter than the LCD panels currently used.

Another common thought is that Apple will finally introduce 3G or 4G capabilities to the Watch, in order to make it more independent from the iPhone. We’re not convinced by this. Apple likes its devices to be closely tied together, and the battery life problems that come with cellular capabilities might make it an unattractive option at this time.

It’s still early days for the Apple Watch, so we fully expect this to be a quiet evolution rather than revolution. Thinner, lighter, faster and longer battery life is the mantra, and we’d be very happy with that.

For a more in-depth look at the latest rumours on the Apple Watch be sure to check out our Apple Watch 3 Rumours article.

Read more about Apple Watch: Apple Watch accessories round-up | Best Apple Watch straps | Apple Watch tips | Apple Watch 2 Review

Apple predictions for 2017: iPhones

2017 marks the 10th anniversary of the iPhone, so many are expecting Apple to pull out all the stops and release something quite special.

iPhone SE 2:

The first model to appear will be the iPhone SE2 or SEs, replacing the existing (and rather popular) SE that was introduced in March 2016. Expect the new model to be released in the same timeline and feature the existing, classic design, but with upgraded internals such as the A10 chip found in the current iPhone 7 and a more powerful camera.

In all honesty we’d love to see the original SE remain an option, and a price cut could make it a very attractive proposition, but this would make Apple’s iPhone range quite complicated so it’s more likely that the little powerhouse will be retired.

Apple predictions 2017 iPhone SE 2

iPhone 7S or iPhone 8:

There has been much discussion over what the new iPhone will be called. Normally Apple would continue its tick-tock rhythm of a new design one year followed by the S version which upgrades only the internals. But the iPhone 7 featured a minimal change to the design of the 6 and 6S, which leads many to think that Apple is saving the big changes for its 10th Anniversary model – the iPhone 8.

Perhaps the biggest expected change to the design of the iPhone 8 is the removal of the Home button to allow an edge-to-edge glass display. But what of Apple ID and the fingerprint sensor? Well, there have been several reports that Apple intends to include technology that allows the screen itself to act as a fingerprint sensor, thus removing the need for a physical button.

Alternatively, Apple might use facial recognition instead of/in addition to the fingerprint sensor. Apple reportedly purchased Israeli startup RealFace, which as the name hints specialises in facial recognition technology.

This would be a truly remarkable innovation and give iPhone users display sizes on par with many premium Android devices but in a compact format.

MacRumours also asserts that Apple is intending to use a flexible OLED display rather than the LCD panels that have appeared on previous iPhones. This could make the devices lighter while also offering more vivid colours and contrasts.

 

Image created by ConceptsiPhone

Another feature often found on Android phones is that of wireless charging, and it looks very likely that this will be included on the iPhone 8. Some rumours even suggest the Apple will include long-range wireless charging, with Bloomberg Business reporting that the company wants to impliment the game changing technology that could charge an iphone from several feet away, and could have it ready for 2017.

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