We’re on the cusp of yet another iteration of the ever-popular iPhone. Unlike the subtle improvements made with the iPhone 7, it looks as though the latest model will actually make significant changes to the device. Along with the shifting hardware, there is a new numbered operating system (iOS 11) scheduled for later this year.
Some of these changes will mark the iPhone playing catch-up with the Samsung Galaxy series. Samsung has been gaining on Apple in the smartphone industry for some time, and some would argue that the Galaxy S7 put the brand ahead. Boasting a wider, curved screen (on the Edge edition) and impressive water resistance, the Galaxy was finally able to boast capabilities not already touted by the iPhone. Samsung was no longer trying to keep pace with Apple, it was leading the way. The S7 was also capable of supporting wireless charging, though the technology still had a ways to go.
It should come as no surprise that these very features are making a prominent appearance with the iPhone 8. It’s been confirmed that two of the biggest additions to the newest iPhone will be waterproof functionality and wireless charging, both notably missing from the iPhone 7. Clumsy phone-owners lamented the lack of water resistance in the current device, and the feeling was understandable for such an expensive product. While Apple might be a bit late with the feature, it’s better late than never, and this quality alone could be enough to convince many to upgrade.
As much of a sea change we expect in the hardware itself, the new OS will also be a major upgrade, potentially just as big as the actual phone. Apple plans to overhaul the entire App Store, and will also allow users to drag and drop items between different apps on the phone. This will be particularly huge for the iPad, but should improve the functionality of the phone’s usability overall. One of the biggest things is the introduction of peer-to-peer payments. iOS 11 will let you send money directly through iMessage instead of having to use a separate app. The feature is meant to compete with Venmo, and with its added convenience, it could quickly make the other payment app obsolete.
The new payment system could also have a ripple affect across the mobile market, particularly in regard to the gaming industry. In-game microtransactions are nothing new across the world of mobile gaming, but separate apps are often needed for online casinos. It has become much easier thanks to the rise of dedicated payment services, but depositing and withdrawing funds from a gaming account will be easier than ever with iMessage payments. The change could have far-reaching consequences that will move the mobile economy even further into the digital sphere.
After being somewhat underwhelmed with the advances of the iPhone 7, it’s reassuring to see Apple taking a proactive stance with its latest offerings. We’ll have to wait and see if either of them ultimately live up to the hype, but the early rumors suggest that Apple is making the right moves to regain its place as the dominant smartphone. Both the iPhone 8 and iOS 11 are currently slated for a fall 2017 release.