X marks the spot as new name for iPhone leaks ahead of launch

11 Sep 2017

Image: Mike Dexter/Shutterstock

Irish developer Steven Troughton Smith has apparently found clues in Apple firmware that reveal some of the attributes of the new iPhone X.

Tomorrow (12 September), Apple will reveal its latest iPhone line-up and, seeing as it is the 10th anniversary of the smartphone, it won’t be just any launch. What Apple will reveal is anybody’s guess and, as usual, I will caution you with the only thing we can say with certainty at this point: only Apple really knows.

Irish developer Steven Troughton Smith has made a bit of a name for himself as a sleuth in finding clues in Apple firmware as to what’s coming. He is getting his latest clues from the new iOS 11 GM firmware, which also signals a new-generation Apple Watch with a digital crown.

According to a report in 9to5Mac at the weekend, Smith believes there will be three models unveiled tomorrow: an iPhone 8, an iPhone 8 Plus and – drum roll, please – a pro device called the iPhone X.

This suggests that the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus will be continuations of the iPhone in its present chassis, but with major leaps in processing power and camera technology.

The iPhone X, however, could be a completely different affair – minus a bezel and a home button. Let’s just assume the iPhone in 2007 represented a kind of future we could only glimpse at back then, in terms of design and function. The iPhone X in 2017 will be a mission statement by Apple, and a marker for the rest of the smartphone world to catch up to, possibly changing what phones will look like for the next 10 years.

According to Smith, the iPhone 8 will feature 2GB of RAM while the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X will have 3GB of RAM.

The X is expected to come with a 12MP rear-facing camera that supports 4K video at 60 frames per second (FPS) and 1080p video at 240FPS.

The front camera will have a 7MP camera and will support 1080p at 30FPS.

The X will come with Apple’s latest A11 processor with six cores, according to Smith.

What else we think we know about the new generation of iPhones

  • More leaks from firmware indicate that the new iPhone X will be an all-screen affair, save for a tiny notch at the top for camera and speaker.
  • Rumours are that it will be in extremely short supply at launch with 2m to 4m units produced this quarter, but 45m to 50m throughout the year.
  • The new iPhone models will support fast charging via a Lightning-to-USB-C cable.
  • The iPhone X will come in just three colours: black, silver and gold.
  • The iPhone X is expected to have an edge-to-edge OLED display with higher resolution than the iPhone 7 Plus – details from Apple’s HomePod firmware indicate it will have a 5.15in display with a resolution of 2,436 by 1,125 pixels.
  • The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus will have the same LCD tech that Apple has been using in recent years.
  • The iPhone X is expected to feature facial recognition that could replace Touch ID.
  • The iPhone X is expected to have no home button at all, but could feature a version of the Touch Bar that sits on the MacBook Pro as a feature on the screen. It may be known as a ‘function area’.
  • It is expected to cost more, with a starting price of more than $1,000.
  • All three models are expected to feature wireless or inductive charging.
  • Siri won’t be just a voice assistant – it will suggest topics in Apple news, book online and translate to five languages, including French and Chinese.

And my wild-card guess …

Since we have just over 24 hours to find out what’s really happening, my wild-card guess is around inductive charging.

The elegance of the inductive charging set-up on the Apple Watch – it just attaches magnetically to the back of the device – has me wondering if the same set-up could be applied to the iPhone X.

The 8 and 8 Plus will most likely retain the Lightning connector that came with the 7 and 7 Plus, and may come with the rumoured USB-C adapter, just as the 7 series came with an adapter for traditional audio jacks.

But could the iPhone X feature inductive charging, and could the Apple Watch charger really be the standard charger for the next decade?

It’s just a guess, but I like its design and simplicity. But, at this stage, only Apple really knows.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years