Apple iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus: Everything the pros need to know

With the the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, Apple has officially unveiled its 2017 incremental upgrades to the iPhone. Here's what professionals need to know about the two devices.

Apple's latest iPhones for the masses are the iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus, both being incremental upgrades to last year's iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus in the same basic form factor. That doesn't mean they don't have some interesting upgrades beneath the hood, though.

Faster processors, wireless charging capabilities, and improved cameras are all part of what differentiates the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus from the iPhone 7 series.

Here is TechRepublic's smart person's guide on all the details about the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus that professionals and businesses need to know.

SEE: All of TechRepublic's smart person's guides

Executive summary

  • What are the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus? The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are part of the newest generation of Apple's smartphones. They are an incremental upgrade from the iPhone 7 series but still feature a number of updates that improve on the older models.
  • Why do the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus matter? The iPhone 8 series have several new features that consumers have wanted for a while, including wireless charging. The iPhone 8 series may not quiet Apple's critics, though—it's still essentially the same as the iPhone 7 series, and all the big innovation is confined to the iPhone X.
  • Who does the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus affect? The iPhone 8 affects anyone who is part of the Apple ecosystem, as well as IT leaders who might need to answer the question: Why go with an iPhone 8 series when you can have the advancements of the iPhone X?
  • How can I get an iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus? The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus will be available for pre-order starting September 15. They will be available in stores on September 22.

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What are the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus?

The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are, along with the ultra high-end iPhone X, the newest entries in Apple's smartphone line. Physically they look nearly identical to the iPhone 7 series with one large difference: The metal back has been replaced by glass.

The glass back enables wireless charging, which has finally been added to the iPhone in this generation's models. Even better, Apple has chosen to go with the Qi wireless charging standard, which is already in use by many other smartphone manufacturers and third-party charging dock manufacturers.

Aside from wireless charging, Apple has improved on a number of iPhone elements for the iPhone 8 series.

What's new under the hood

  • The A11 Bionic chip is at the core of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. It's a six-core beast with two high-performance cores and four high-efficiency cores. The cores are 25% and 70% faster than their respective A10 counterparts.
  • Both the front- and rear-facing cameras are unchanged in terms of megapixels and apertures, but improved dynamic range and noise reduction makes for sharper images.
  • The iPhone 8 Plus has machine learning-assisted portrait lighting that detects faces, separates them from the background, and adjusts the lighting to simulate studio lights.
  • Both models can now capture slow motion video in 1080p at 240FPS.
  • A second speaker has been added to the top of the device, enabling stereo sound for portrait mode video watching.

Complete hardware specs

iPhone 8iPhone 8 Plus
Storage capacity64 GB, 256 GB64 GB, 256 GB
Size5.45" x 2.65"6.24" x 3.07"
Weight5.22 oz7.13 oz
Display size4.7"5.5"
Resolution1334 by 7501920 by 1080
Water/splash/dustIP67 ratedIP67 rated
ProcessorA11 Bionic, Neural Engine,
M11 motion coprocessor
A11 Bionic, Neural Engine,
M11 motion coprocessor
Rear camera12MP ƒ/1.8 aperture
5x digital zoom
12MP ƒ/1.8 wide-angle
12MP ƒ/2.8 telephoto
Optical zoom, 10x digital zoom
Front camera7MP, ƒ/2.2 aperture7MP, ƒ/2.2 aperture
Video capability4K video max 60 FPS
1080p HD max 60 FPS
Slo-mo video 1080p max 240 FPS
4K video max 60 FPS
1080p HD max 60 FPS
Slo-mo video 1080p max 240 FPS
Battery life14 hours talk time21 hours talk time

For additional details see Apple's iPhone 8 and 8 Plus product page.

Additional resources

Image: CNET

Why does the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus matter?

It's arguable that Apple has been slipping as an innovation leader, leaving Samsung and Google to scoop up accolades for breaking new smartphone ground. The iPhone 8 series is not the answer to that criticism though, with the iPhone X being Apple's bleeding-edge innovation play. The iPhone 8 series is just an incremental upgrade.

That doesn't mean the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus don't matter, especially for business users. A faster chip means better processing power, improved cameras mean better smartphone photography, and wireless charging will make topping up the battery on the go a lot easier. Also, the iPhone X's drastic changes will disrupt how iPhone users interact with their devices, and that means more time spent learning and adjusting.

Additional resources

Who does the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus affect?

Everyone who has money and time invested in Apple's mobile ecosystem is affected by the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. For businesses and professionals that want to upgrade, the big question will be "iPhone 8 or iPhone X?"

As mentioned above, the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus have the upgrades that most business users and consumers need without the disruptive changes that come with the iPhone X.

Some users may want, or need, the improved front-facing camera and reportedly improved security of Face ID that come with the iPhone X, or perhaps even the appearance of being cutting edge that it will provide. For everyone who simply needs a better iPhone, the iPhone 8 is the obvious choice.

SEE: Job description: iOS developer (Tech Pro Research)

One of the major features of the newest generation of iPhones comes from the ARKit that is part of iOS 11. Businesses interested in investing in AR don't need to opt for the more expensive iPhone X to be a part of it—the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are both capable of showing off the ARKit's capabilities.

Competitive products

The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus's biggest competition comes from the Samsung Galaxy S8. Samsung's newest phone has similar internal specs to the iPhone 8 series, but those aren't the differences you're going to see, and they're nowhere near as big a deal as the external differences.

The Galaxy S8 has a larger, more vibrant screen (5.8" to the iPhone's 4.7", or 5.5" for the 8 Plus), and even more important, the S8's screen has practically no bezel at all, making it look more like the iPhone X than the iPhone 8.

The S8 also sits at a price point between the iPhone 8 series and the iPhone X, coming in around $720.

By all impressions the S8 is a superior device, especially with its huge screen. What competition really comes down to, as is always the case in the Apple vs. Samsung war, is ecosystem preference. Those heavily invested in Apple's software likely won't be swayed by the S8, and those who have spent time and money in Android and other Google platforms won't be swayed by a new iPhone, even the X.

Additional resources

Image: TechRepublic/Brandon Vigliarolo

When and how can I buy the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus?

The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus will be available for pre-order starting on September 15 and will arrive in stores on September 22. They will both ship with iOS 11, which will be generally available on September 19th, though the golden master build release is available to install now.

For more specifics on pricing and availability check out Apple's website.

Additional resources

About Brandon Vigliarolo

Brandon writes about apps and software for TechRepublic. He's an award-winning feature writer who previously worked as an IT professional and served as an MP in the US Army.

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