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The $1,000 iPhone and other rumors about Apple's next smartphone

The $1,000 iPhone and other rumors about Apple's next smartphone

Many expect substantial makeover
The $1,000 iPhone and other rumors about Apple's next smartphone
Customers wait in line for the launch of the Apple iPhone 5.
Photographer: Angel Navarrete/Bloomberg

It may only be February, but it seems like people are already getting excited about the next iPhone, which is expected to debut this fall. Shares of Apple are trading above their all-time high Monday, fueled in part by mounting speculation about the new iPhone - which many expect will get a substantial makeover.

Most people who follow these rumors expect three models of the iPhone: presumably an iPhone 7s, an iPhone 7s Plus and an iPhone 8. What isn't so clear is whether those will be their actual names. After all, this is the 10th anniversary of the iPhone, so some people are expecting the "iPhone 8" to be called the "iPhone X."

Because X's, as we all know, are cool.

This high-end version of the iPhone is the one really generating the bulk of the excitement, as it's expected to be the one with the most design changes. Some more intriguing rumors about the actual specs of the phone have surfaced in the past couple of weeks. Here's a look at what experts expect to see.

A sharper screen: Previous spins through the rumor mill have raised expectations that at least the most expensive version of the iPhone will have an OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) screen, rather than the LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) technology it packs now.

Translated from alphabet soup, the biggest difference for consumers will be in the picture quality. OLED screens are known for having vivid colors and deep blacks.

Apple competitors - including Samsung, LG, Google and Motorola - have all released phones with this type of screen in the past. But Apple hasn't, which means that there's a good chunk of the smartphone market that may not know what they're missing - which makes the rumor about this display on the new iPhone all the more exciting.

Many analysts also think that the firm will use a curved screen, similar to what we've seen on the Samsung Galaxy Edge. (Samsung, after all, is a screen supplier for Apple.) A display that wraps around the edge of the phone gives you more screen to work with overall. That's a benefit for people who watch a lot of video on their phones. Late last year, there were also reports that the phone would have a "virtual button" instead of a physical home button, making for an even smoother display.

A very high price tag: Now this is a doozy. Noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities predicted the fanciest iPhone could bear a price tag of more than $1,000.

It's not quite as far-fetched as it may seem: a fully loaded iPhone 7 Plus, for example, already costs $969. Still, it's a psychological price line that many people may balk at, particularly when Apple's least expensive laptop is $999.

Why so pricey? Look no further than the rumor right above this one - that coveted OLED screen. Producing an OLED screen isn't easy, particularly when you're working on the kind of scale that Apple does. The question is whether the screen quality improvement will be enough to persuade people to dole out their cash.

Set it down, charge it up: This has been a persistent item on the iPhone owner wishlist, particularly as Apple competitors such as Samsung have added it to their phones. This rumor went from wishful thinking late last year to likely, however, when Kuo said that the next generation of iPhones will have wireless charging capabilities. Although, as 9 to 5 Mac reported, it's not clear whether the wireless charger itself will be included with a new phone.

Apple already uses wireless charging for the Apple Watch, so it's not a huge leap of faith to think they could adapt their technology for the phone. The company last week also joined the Wireless Power Consortium, a standards body devoted to - well, you can probably guess, right? In a statement to Business Insider, the company said it's looking "to participate and contribute ideas" to the future thinking around wireless charging. But it declined to comment on the report's speculation about future products.

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