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Will the iPhone 8’s big feature be augmented reality?

As we draw closer to Apple’s annual September event, the iPhone 8 rumours keep on coming.

The latest rumours coming from sites including The Verifier, MacWorld and Mac Rumors. The sites claim that the new iPhone 8 will come with a “Smart Connector”, similar to the three-pin connector on the iPad Pro.

According to the Verifier, the Smart Connector will be used for wireless charging and for interfacing with augmented reality (AR) headsets or other accessories.

It’s no secret that Apple has been interested in wireless charging for some time.

Last year, Apple Insider noted that the tech giant had hired a number of people with experience in wireless charging and earlier this year Apple officially joined the Wireless Power Consortium.

However, that doesn’t mean that Apple will have to totally play by the Consortium’s rules.

9 to 5 Mac reported that although the Consortium promotes the use of a single standard for wireless charging known as ‘Qi’, Apple may not fully support that protocol. For example, the Apple Watch uses a tweaked version of Qi in order to restrict the use of other (non-Apple) Qi chargers.

In addition to recruiting wireless experts, Apple has also been hiring in the augmented reality space. Last month, The Verge reported that Apple could have as many as 1,000 engineers working on an AR project in Israel.

Leaked patents and code have shown that Apple is working on its very own AR device and reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has claimed that the next iPhone will feature a front-facing camera that’s capable of sensing 3D space.

Along with the wireless charging and AR predictions, The Verifier also believes that iOS 11 will include group FaceTime and enhanced Siri features like iMessage integration.

Recently, I claimed that Apple had recently been going for iterative improvements rather than revolutionary changes. For example, there wasn’t much to set the iPhone 7 apart from the 6S or 6 (except for the whole 3.5mm jack thing that was quickly forgotten).

However, I am now happily eating crow since the iPhone’s 10th anniversary is shaping up to be a big event.

Although these latest leaks are still unconfirmed, most sources expect that the new iPhone 8 will include a glass and stainless steel redesign, a bezel-less OLED display, embedded Home button, a new in-display Touch ID paired with facial recognition, updates to 3D touch, an improved camera, and better waterproofing.

For Apple users like myself still using the 6, making the jump to the 8 will make a lot of sense. It’s no wonder that analysts are predicting that the 8 could be Apple’s biggest selling phone ever.

See you in September!

About the author

Stefan is an Adelaide-based freelance writer. In his spare time, he plays tennis badly, collects vinyl and brushes up on his Mandarin. Follow Stefan on Twitter

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