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There’s one thing that really has me worried about the iPhone 8

iPhone 8 Release Date 2017

At some point this summer while I’m cursing myself for installing an unstable iOS 11 beta on my personal iPhone, I’ll hit the 10-year mark from when I purchased my first iPhone. I was a longtime Nokia smartphone user at the time, but it became obvious to me fairly quickly that the Symbian platform as it existed in 2007 would soon be a relic of the past. Little did I know that Symbian itself would crumble completely, eventually taking Nokia’s entire cell phone business with it. But I digress.

Whether or not you’re an Apple user, the iPhone’s tenth anniversary is a big deal. Every single smartphone on the planet right now exists as it does today because of the iPhone. Can you even imagine what Android phones would be like if Google had launched the awful BlackBerry clone it had been building instead of going back and retooling the platform in response to the iPhone?

I couldn’t be more excited to see what Apple is cooking up for the iPhone’s tenth anniversary, and rumors suggest it’s going to be something special. But there’s one rumor in particular that really has me worried about the iPhone 8, and I’m growing more concerned with each passing day.

While nothing will truly be confirmed until Apple unveils the iPhone 8 on stage later this year, there’s enough information out there right now from reliable sources to paint what will almost certainly be an accurate picture of Apple’s next-generation flagship iPhone. According to reports, the iPhone 8 will be a complete reimagining of an Apple smartphone. It might not be called the “iPhone 8,” by the way, but it will undoubtedly look a great deal like the renders we’ve seen so far.

Rumor has it the iPhone 8 will feature a large 5.8-inch OLED display with a new, taller aspect ratio. LG’s new G6 has an 18:9 ratio and Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and S8+ are 18.5:9. The iPhone 8 will likely match one of those two ratios, and it will also likely match the more important common thread that connects these new flagship smartphones: Much thinner bezels than we have ever seen on a widely available flagship phone.

Since the physical home button will be removed from the iPhone 8 and the bezels will be shrunken, Apple will be able to squeeze a 5.8-inch screen into a phone that’s about the same size as the iPhone 7. That’s right, if the rumors pan out, the iPhone 8 will be about the size of Apple’s current 4.7-inch iPhone, but it will have a screen that’s larger than the one on the company’s current 5.5-inch iPhone.

Ever since Apple released its first phablet in 2014, I’ve griped that it’s far too large to use comfortably with one hand. In 2017, I finally relented and opted for the iPhone 7 Plus over the iPhone 7. I still hate how oversized the device is for a phone with a 5.5-inch screen, but one-handed usability is a sacrifice I was willing to make for huge improvements in two areas: Screen size and battery life.

According to multiple reports from trustworthy sources, Apple will release three new iPhone models later this year. The iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus will be followups to last year’s iPhones with modest upgrades, and then the iPhone 8 will be the first of its kind. The 8 will be the phone everyone wants, of course, because it will be the phone that features Apple’s sleek new design. But the iPhone 7s Plus may have a huge advantage over the iPhone 8 that’s going to be difficult for some users to pass up. You guessed it… battery life.

I forgot to plug in my iPhone 7 Plus last night before I went to sleep. That means when I woke up this morning, it had been more than 24 hours since my phone had last been charged. It still had 21% remaining in the battery. Incredible.

If you’re an iPhone 7 user, or if you use just about any Android phone currently available, there is no way you can go through a full day of typical usage and still have more than 20% left in the tank the next morning. My iPhone 6s last year could barely make it through my 10-hour workday without needing to be charged.

In a nutshell, I no longer think about my phone’s battery life. Ever. I don’t have to check my remaining charge every time I leave my home or office, for fear that I might not have enough juice left to make the trip. And I don’t have to slap on a big bulky battery case that barely fits in my pocket just to make it through the day. If Apple’s new iPhone 8 really is about the same size of the iPhone 7, and it almost certainly will be, it likely means a huge step backwards in terms of battery life.

I’m really not sure I can go back to living like that.

One sketchy leak suggested that Apple will actually include two separate batteries in the iPhone 8. One will be a larger battery similar to the one in the iPhone 7, and a second smaller battery will supposedly occupy some available space inside the other side of the phone near the bottom. A second battery would undoubtedly help matters, but the source was a post on Chinese microblogging site Weibo, so this rumor is still unconfirmed.

Like most iPhone users out there, I can’t see myself opting for an iPhone 7s Plus over a completely redesigned iPhone 8, even if Apple does give the 7s and 7s Plus design a small update with new glass backs to enable wireless charging. I want an all-screen iPhone. I want an OLED display with an embedded Touch ID scanner. I want color-matched stainless steel edges. I want a phone with a nice big display that can actually fit comfortably in my hand. But if all that comes at the expense of all-day battery life, many iPhone users like me are going to have a difficult decision to make.

Zach Epstein

Zach Epstein has worked in and around ICT for more than 15 years, first in marketing and business development with two private telcos, then as a writer and editor covering business news, consumer electronics and telecommunications. Zach’s work has been quoted by countless top news publications in the US and around the world. He was also recently named one of the world's top-10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes, as well as one of Inc. Magazine's top-30 Internet of Things experts.

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