iPhone 8 specs and new features

2If Apple does indeed do something special for the iPhone’s 10th anniversary, which seems likely based on iPhone 7 rumours, the iPhone 8 will be one which fans will no doubt want to upgrade to on launch day. Could we see the biggest queues ever?
A combination of design and hardware changes will make the iPhone 8 the most radical new iPhone to date, going by the rumours and leaks anyway.
Jony Ive has wanted to introduce an iPhone which resembles a single sheet of glass for a long time and the 2017 anniversary iPhone could be the one. It’s rumoured that at least one iPhone in 2017 will use a glass body, according to Apple supplier Catcher Technology. Glass on the front and back would make it like a hugely updated version of the iPhone 4S.
This, combined with the rumour that the iPhone 8 will sport an edge-to-edge OLED screen makes things rather interesting. And we’re not just talking the side edges, as Apple may even go as far as to do away with the top and bottom bezels. The physical home button would be gone and the TouchID fingerprint scanner would be housed within the screen.
A patent filed back in March 2015 states: “The man-machine interface device comprises an electronic display apparatus that is capable of presenting graphic text, images, icons, and other data typically shown on a screen, while further including a transparent finger touch sensor region that is seated above the display apparatus.”
Using a flexible OLED display technology will allow the iPhone 8 to be thinner and give a similar effect to the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge. It should also consume less power while offering better contrast and colour reproduction. Apple already uses an OLED display for the Apple Watch.

What size of phone is right for me?

6Smartphones are getting bigger and bigger, with the latest high-end models measuring 5.7 inches and more. While bigger phones are great for watching films and browsing the web, they won’t suit everyone. Some people find them too large and awkward to hold. The only way to find out which handset size is right for you is to try holding a few in the shop. If you want something that will slip more easily into your pocket or bag, pick a 4 to 5-inch phone. Do I need a 4G phone? Smartphones use mobile broadband networks to keep you connected. The fastest mobile internet service is called 4G and is available in parts of the UK. To check whether you can get 4G in your area, use our coverage checker map. Most mobile phones come with 4G as standard now, but it’s worth checking any new handset is compatible – especially with cheaper models.
Whether you want to spend £100 or £600, our expert guide will help you find out which mobile phone is best for you.

iPhone 8 release date, name, features and specs: Apple set to go big on iPhone’s 10th anniversary

1It’s early days but it’s also well worth taking a look at the new iPhone for 2017 even though we don’t have the iPhone 7. We think Apple might well be holding back some special things for the iPhone 8 so here’s what you need to know in terms of release date and specs rumours. See also: Best phones 2016.
While you might be excited for the iPhone 7 later this year which may also launch alongside an iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 7 Pro, there are some reasons why you might want to wait for the iPhone 8.
iPhone 8 release date rumours
We’re not getting to technical with the iPhone 8 release date just yet. It’s not necessarily even going to be called that. However, for now that’s the name we’re using to keep things simple and the iPhone 8 will be the new flagship smartphone for Apple in 2017.
If tradition continues, the iPhone 8 release date will fall around September 2017 which we assume will be a year after the iPhone 7.

However, this isn’t quite as easy to predict as normal. The year 2017 marks the 10th anniversary of the original iPhone launch so we wouldn’t be too surprised if Apple mixed things up a bit because of the landmark.
iPhone 8 or iPhone 7S or something else? What will the iPhone in 2017 be called?
As we’ve mentioned, the iPhone for 2017 is unpredictable because of it being a big anniversary year for Apple.
Following the usual pattern, the iPhone 7 will launch this year and will be followed by the iPhone 7S in 2017. The fact that it’s 10 years since the original iPhone means this could all go out the window. Apple will want to do something special to celebrate the occasion so an ‘S’ model, which usually just brings small tweaks, won’t really suffice.
There are many options including the possibility of another iPhone 6S model this year so the 2017 model is the iPhone 7, or the iPhone 7 does get launched this year then Apple jumps straight to the iPhone 8 next year.
It’s pretty much anyone’s guess at the moment, hence, we’re calling the 2017 model the iPhone 8 at the moment but it’s perfectly plausible that the new phone won’t conform to the traditional naming system at all. The iPhone SE (special edition) is already a thing so perhaps Apple will go with ‘iPhone Pro’, iPhone Anniversary Edition’ or even just ‘iPhone’ – although naming the iPad 3 as ‘the new iPad’ didn’t go down too well.
Vote in our poll to let us know what you think Apple will name the iPhone next year.

How to choose the best mobile phone

4How much does a decent mobile phone cost? Mobile phones vary hugely in cost from around £60 to more than £600. Spend around the £500 mark and you’ll get a top-of-the-range model with a large, extremely detailed and vibrant screen. It will have all the latest features, including a fingerprint reader, and possibly even a heart-rate monitor. If you’re looking around the £400 mark, the phone will still have a good screen, long battery life and a decent camera. It won’t have the extras, such as a fingerprint reader, and it’s more likely to have a plastic finish rather than the sleek metal casing found on more expensive models. And at the £200 mark you’ll get a phone that can handle everyday tasks, such as web browsing, running Google searches and taking phone calls, but it might struggle to smoothly run the latest, most-demanding apps, and will almost certainly be made of plastic. And for those looking for the cheapest option possible, we recommend you spend at least £100 to avoid ending up with a dud. iOS, Android or Windows: which OS is best? The operating system (OS) is the software that powers your phone. It will dictate what the phone menu looks like, what apps it can run and how easy it is to use. There are three main players to choose from: iOS, Android and Windows. Apple iOS All iPhones use iOS and, unlike Android, the experience of using the operating system is broadly similar whichever iPhone you buy. New updates to iOS are released each year, but some older iPhones may be able to run only older versions. That can mean you miss out on a few of the latest apps, new features and security patches introduced by Apple. Pros It’s easy to use and quick to learn, even if you haven’t used a smartphone before. It provides access to the well-stocked Apple app store – where apps are vetted before being released so you can rest assured they’re safe to use. Cons It’s expensive – even the cheapest Apple handset comes in at £359. And if you’re after a large-screen iPhone, you’ll need to part with at least £459. Apple iPhones also do not come with a micro-SD card slot, so you’ll need to choose the memory capacity carefully to avoid running out of space for your app, music and photo collection. Android Android is designed by Google and is used by many manufacturers, from LG and Samsung to relative-newbie OnePlus. It looks and behaves slightly differently depending on who manufacturers the phone, but the basics are the same. Pros It’s generally easy to use and provides access to the wide variety of apps, games and entertainment available from the Google Play store. There’s a wide range of Android phones available to suit all budgets. Cons In the past, Android has been slightly more vulnerable to attack than Apple handsets. But that is beginning to change now, with Google putting more emphasis on vetting apps in the app store and patching security holes. Sometimes the manufacturer and network provider can be slow to release Android updates to users. Windows Windows is not as popular as Android or iOS, but it is a big player at the cheaper end of the market. Pros Microsoft offers a range of decent-yet-affordable Windows phones – you can pick one up for around £120. Windows phones are fully compatible with Windows laptops and computers – good for finishing tasks while on the move. Cons There aren’t as many apps made for Windows phones as there are for iOS and Android. That said, all the big apps such as Facebook, Google Maps and BBC News are available.

Digital compass, global positioning system (GPS) radio

5Many phones now have two cameras: front-facing for video calling, and rear-facing for photography/filming. Some webchat apps also allow switching to the rear-facing camera mid-call, so you can show your partner what you are viewing. Expect upwards of 3 megapixel resolution. Beware that number of megapixels provides little indication of quality of photos or video clips.
Other sensors: most smartphones now include many other sensors to assist their operation. Thse include a digital compass, global positioning system (GPS) radio, both to aid navigation. A light sensor helps adjust screen brightness to match environment.
An accelerometer/motion sensor and gyroscope have many uses, include auto-adjustment of screen orientation to suit how the phone is held, as well as assist in games and other apps. A proximity sensor is often fitted so that the screen is dimmed and deactivated when the phone is held to the ear to make phone calls.
Platform: early smartphones relied on Windows Mobile operating system, but the platform proved unreliable and difficult to operate. Microsoft stopped development of Windows Mobile at version 6.5 in 2009. Microsoft is now developing Windows Phone 7.
Aside from Windows Phone, in its infancy and with reduced developer or user following compared to other platforms, there are three smartphone operating systems on the worldwide market.
RIM’a BlackBerry OS was developed for business users, and was the first platform to facilitate email on a mobile phone. Even now it has a strong following in large business enterprises, who prize it for its security and ability to be locked-down by a system administrator.

Top 10 tips for mobile phone safety

4121) Remember if you are being bullied it isn’t your fault and there is nothing so awful that you can’t speak to someone about it. Talk to a trusted adult at home or at school.

2) Don’t reply to any nasty messages you receive.

3) Don’t reply to a text from someone you don’t know.

4) Keep the messages you have been sent so you can show them to a trusted adult and make a note of the time and date of the messages or calls you receive.

5) Don’t answer calls from withheld numbers or numbers you don’t recognise, let it go to voicemail.

6) Block numbers from people who are sending you nasty messages.

7) If you are bullied repeatedly can change your number.

8) Don’t give your mobile number to someone you don’t know.

9) Don’t send pictures to someone you don’t know.

10) If the problem is serious you can report it to the police, cyber mentors, or childline.

Staying Safe Online

1) Don’t post any personal information online – like your address, email address or mobile number.

2) Think carefully before posting pictures or videos of yourself. Once you’ve put a picture of yourself online most people can see it and may be able to download it, it’s not just yours anymore.

3) Keep your privacy settings as high as possible

4) Never give out your passwords

5) Don’t befriend people you don’t know

6) Don’t meet up with people you’ve met online. Speak to your parent or carer about people suggesting you do

7) Remember that not everyone online is who they say they are

8) Think carefully about what you say before you post something online

9) Respect other people’s views, even if you don’t agree with someone else’s views doesn’t mean you need to be rude

10) If you see something online that makes you feel uncomfortable, unsafe or worried: leave the website, turn off your computer if you want to and tell a trusted adult immediately.

Security Advice for Mobile Phone Users

9Every day, all over the world, millions of people enjoy the convenience provided by the GSM family of technologies. Today, over 5 billion people have access to mobile services and this number is growing rapidly. Mobile phones have revolutionised the way the world communicates.

Whilst using a mobile phone is generally a trouble free experience, these desirable and sophisticated devices have, inevitably, become the subject of some interest amongst the world’s criminal fraternity. One issue is, of course, the theft of mobile phones, although this is often perceived as being a more serious threat than it really is. But additional challenges more familiar to the fixed Internet world, such as spam and mobile phone viruses, are also on the increase.

These web pages aim to provide mobile phone users with simple, easy to follow advice to help you minimise the risk of experiencing these problems firsthand.

To learn more, select a topic from the list below or read our general hints and tips on safe and secure use of your GSM phone:

Preventing Mobile Phone Theft
Spam and Mobile Phones
Computer Viruses and Mobile Phones
Secure use of Voicemail Services
If you have any specific concerns regarding the use of your mobile phone services, we recommend that you contact your service provider’s customer service team for assistance.

Consider parental-control tools

8Down time is good. Constant texting and talking can affect sleep, concentration, school, and other things that deserve your thought and focus. You need your sleep, and real friends understand there are times you just need to turn off the phone.

Share location mindfully. A growing number of apps allow friends to pinpoint each other’s physical location. If you use such a service, do so only with friends you know in person, and get to know the service’s privacy features.

Have a conversation (not a lecture) with your kids about smartphone use. Consider drawing up a family cellphone contract and talk with your children about why each point is important. If you decide to use parental-control apps, discuss them with your children.

Consider parental-control tools. There are actually two major types of parental controls. The first is family rules or guidelines that you establish with your children, and the second is technology tools provided by cellphone companies, smartphone makers and app developers. If you do use technology to monitor or limit your child’s phone activities, in most cases it’s a good idea to be up front with them and revisit it every now and then as they mature.

No texting while driving! Research shows that texting while driving can significantly increase the risk of a crash or near-crash situation. Silence your phone in the car, pull over if you need to use it, and of course follow your state’s hands-free laws for mobile phones in cars.

Tips for Smart Cellphone Use

7Cellphones are increasingly full-blown handheld computers, and everything that can be done on the Web via computer – photo-sharing, Web browsing, game playing, tune-swapping, real-time text or video chat, and (oh yeah) talking – can be done on a phone. Here are some basic ideas for keeping mobile phone use safe and constructive:

Share with care. Use the same good sense about what you post from your phone as from a computer. Once they’re posted, text, photos, and video are tough to take back, can be copied and pasted elsewhere, and are up there pretty much forever. Think about the people in them (including you!). Reputations are at stake.

Phones are personal. Letting other people use your phone when you’re not around is like letting them have the password to your social network profile. They can impersonate you, which gives them the power to mess with your reputation and relationships. Lock your phone when you’re not using it, and use strong and unique passwords for all your apps.

Keep it kind. Because people socialize on cellphones as much as online, cyberbullying can be mobile too. Treat people on phones and the Web the way you would in person, and the risk of being bullied goes down. Be aware, too, of people randomly taking pictures at parties, in locker rooms, etc. – you may not want to be tagged in their social-network photo albums!

Sexting: The vast majority of kids are smart and don’t take, send, or post or even store nude photos of themselves or peers on their phones. People who do so can be charged with production, distribution, or possession of child pornography, a serious crime. They can also be subjected to jokes, bullying, blackmail, expulsion from school, loss of a job, etc. and the images can circulate forever. Just don’t go there.

The value of presence. If you do a lot of texting, consider the impact that being “elsewhere” might be having on the people around you. Your presence during meals, at parties, in the car, etc. is not only polite, it’s a sign of respect and appreciated.

Know what your apps know. Pay attention to any permissions apps request as you install them. If an app asks to access your location, contact list, calendar or messages or to post to your social networking services, consider if the app really needs that information to function. When in doubt, consider withholding permission or not using that app.

Mobile phones buying advice

3Mobile phones can be divided into two categories: feature phones, which offer basic phone functionality and simple features such as Java games; and smartphones, which are in essence handheld call-making computers with internet access.
When choosing a smartphone, the choice of platform can be as important as the hardware specifications of the handset (see ‘Platform’, below). Like desktop PCs, the choice of platform will dictate ease of use, security, and choice of applications – ‘apps’ – that will be available for the phone.
Wireless connectivity: all phones have elementary wireless connectivity, if only for voice calls and SMS. For usable wireless data connections you’ll need at least EDGE (‘2.5G’) technology. But most wireless data today relies on 3G technology.
Confusingly, 3G data standards can be labelled UMTS, HSDPA, HSUPA; the latter two variants are sometimes known together as HSPA.

In urban Britain, you can expect 3G to provide at least 1Mb/s download connectivity, which is sufficient for easy web browsing. Beware of claims for 7Mb/s or 14Mb/s downloads – you’ll be lucky to see 5Mb/s under even ideal conditions, whatever the technology or commercial network.
Wi-Fi connectivity is ubiquitous in smartphones, all to 802.11b/g standard; many now to 11n specification.

Bluetooth was developed for mobile phones, and is useful for, for example, connecting a hands-free earpiece. Look out for the A2DP version of Bluetooth which allows stereo audio and better quality sound than with older Bluetooth connections.
The latest Bluetooth is v3.0 but most devices still get by fine with v2.0 or v2.1, often accompanied by Enhanced Data Rate (EDR) technology.
Display: since the original Apple iPhone, most smartphones now rely on capacitive touch-screen technology, with virtual buttons to press in place of real keys.
Older resistive technology is still found on the cheapest handsets but best avoided – it requires more pressure to activate and often mandates a stylus. Most phones now use capacitive touchscreen tech, and the best have multi-touch control, with natural gestures such as swiping and pinch-to-zoom facilitating simple control.
When looking for a smartphone, aim for a high resolution display to reduce pixellation of on-screen text – 320 x 480 can be considered a minimum for a 3.5in display, for example.
Instead of traditional LCD screen technology, some phones use AMOLED displays which offer more saturated colour but can be less easy to view in sunlight.
Battery life: like early ’90s GSM phones that barely lasted one day on a single charge, smartphone battery life is still short. The better smartphones now run two days or more between charges with intermittent calls and data use, and up to a week in standby.
Processor: all smartphones regardless of brand or platform use a processor licensed from British company ARM Holdings. These ARM chips take many forms, with clock speeds from around 400MHz to 1GHz, and are predominantly single-core designs. Memory helps keep the phone faster; expect upwards of 256MB.
Like a PC, backing up this processor will be a graphics processor to render on-screen animations and power games and video playback.
Storage: some smartphones are built with plenty of NAND flash storage on-board; others expect you to use a card such as microSD to store your media and other files. If you’re going to use your phone for music or video playback, you’ll need at least 8GB storage.
Camera: every self-respecting smartphone has a stills camera, and it’s usually enabled for video recording as well.