iPhone 8 release date, specs: New patent hints that upcoming smartphone will do away with its home button

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It has been only a month since Apple released its new flagship device, the iPhone 7, yet tech watchers are already on the lookout for any news about the next-generation smartphone from the Cupertino-based company. While the iPhone has had very subtle upgrades over the past years, it looks like the iPhone 8 will launch with a new feature that tech fans have had on their wish list since last year.

It was reported that a new patent appears to hint that the new phone will do away with its iconic home button to give way to a “full-screen face” comprised of an edge-to-edge OLED display. This is based on the patent published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, with Apple’s U.S. Patent number 9,460,332 detailing a “Capacitive fingerprint sensor including an electrostatic lens” which is thought to be included in the iPhone 8’s design when it launches next year.

According to BGR, the patent describes ways of placing a button with fingerprint scanning capabilities right under the phone’s screen. In previous devices, the home button has one important function and it’s tied to the fingerprint scanner used to unlock the phone, log into apps, and authenticate Apple Pay transactions. With the home button removed, users can simply gain access to the iPhone 8 and its apps through the screen’s 3D Touch feature.

Apart from a button-less design and edge-to-edge screen, the iPhone 8 is expected to be slimmer due to its OLED display technology. The device is also rumored to have a 3D display, but one that doesn’t require users to wear 3D glasses.

As for the release date, theories claim that the Apple iPhone 8 could make its debut next year, specifically on Sept. 8, 2017, as a nod to the upcoming device. This is based on previous launches, as it can be recalled that the iPhone 5c and 5s were released in September 2013, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in September 2014, the iPhone 6s in September 2015, and the iPhone 7 on Sept. 7, 2016.

Stay tuned for more news about the iPhone 8.