The new phones look similar to existing iPhone 7 models, but pack in a bunch of new hardware to give them a significant boost in processing power and general usability.
Both new phones are slightly more expensive than last year’s entry-level models. The iPhone 8 starts at $700 for the 64 GB model (up from $650 for a 32 GB iPhone 7). The iPhone 8 Plus starts at $800 for the 64 GB model (up from $769 for the 32 GB iPhone 7 Plus). It’s admittedly a small differential, and at least you’ll get some extra storage space.
One of the most noticeable upgrades in both phones will be the increased performance to the cameras. The smaller iPhone 8 packs in a brand new 12-megapixel camera with a new image sensor and optical image stabilization. In theory, this should make your Instagram photos look even sharper and more vibrant — but we can’t say for sure until we spend more time with the actual phone.
The iPhone 8 Plus (the bigger phone) will still be equipped with a slightly better camera system than the smaller one. The 8 Plus will also include new image sensors on its dual 12-megapixel cameras. As was the case with previous iterations, the bigger phone will come with both a standard and telephoto lens (f/1.8 and f/2.8 apertures respectively).
Again, even for iPhone 7 Plus users, the new upgrades should be enough to create a noticeable difference in the photos it captures. This is one major upgrade we will dig into during our official review coming in the next few weeks.
Another major upgrade you’ll probably notice right away is the brand new A11 bionic chip. The new processor has a six-core CPU that includes two performance cores and four high-efficiency cores, which in theory makes it blazing fast.
Apple claims the performance cores operate about 25 percent faster than the previous iteration and the high-efficiency cores operate at about 70 percent faster than the previous generation. In short: the new iPhones won’t have any problem running multiple processes or processing-heavy apps.
The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus also come with a GPU that is 30 percent faster than the previous processor. Apple says the new GPU is designed for better performance with 3D apps and games. This will likely come in handy with the new Apple ARKit that enabled augmented reality apps.
You might also notice that the new phones are slightly louder than the previous generation. That’s because Apple made the speakers 25 percent louder in the newest generation. Casual gamers and people who are constantly watching video on their phones will probably love the upgrade.
The phones also have a brand wireless charging feature enabled by their glass backs. Apple is using the leading wireless charging standard Qi for the new capability, meaning it work with many popular charging stations built by companies like Ikea, Mophie, iHome, and even at restaurants like McDonald’s that build wireless chargers into the table.
The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus will have a couple of similar features including a fingerprint sensor and, sadly, a lightning port without an old school headphone jack. Looks like the headphone jack is never coming back at this point. Both the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus will be available starting on Sept. 22.