iPhone 8 Will Be Clear, Revolutionize Mixed Reality (Report)

How do you make a big splash with the 10th anniversary iPhone? You completely change not just the design but also try to literally change the way people see the world.

Prominent tech blogger Robert Scoble has posted a wide-ranging set of predictions for Apple's next-generation handset on Facebook, citing multiple industry sources who are "leaders in the consumer electronics world," many of which could be making components for Apple's device.

The most dramatic design change could come from the OLED screen on the iPhone 8. According to Scoble, the next iPhone itself will be a clear piece of glass, which could allow for a virtually see-through design. Why go this route?

Scoble says that you'll pop the iPhone 8 "into a headset which has eye sensors on it, which enables the next iPhone to have a higher apparent frame rate and polygon count than a PC with a Nvidia 1080 card in it." He continues, "The clear iPhone will put holograms on top of the real world like Microsoft HoloLens does."

MORE: iPhone 8 Rumors: What to Expect from the 10th Anniversary iPhone

This would be quite the feat, as the HoloLens packs dedicated hardware in its headset that Microsoft says has more power than the average laptop. If the iPhone could deliver a similar or better experience using just the phone plugged into a headset at a reasonable price — HoloLens costs about $3,000 right now for developers — it could revolutionize the young mixed reality industry.

Other features of the iPhone 8 could include a next-gen 3D sensor from Primesense, which could be track your location in real-time without the need for cumbersome base stations. (See the HTC Vive.)

Metaio, an augmented reality company Apple bought in 2015, may also play a large role in the iPhone 8 and its purported headset. CEO Tim Cook has said that augmented reality will be bigger than virtual reality and that the company is investing in the category.

A mixed reality iPhone 8 experience could help you learn more about the people you meet even before you say "Hello" by pulling data down from the web; play mobile games in a whole new way that track your movement; and watch your favorite shows on the big screen without having a screen in front of you at all.

In addition to Microsoft, Apple would be competing with the Google-backed Magic Leap, as well as any augmented reality products Oculus may have planned. At its recent Oculus Connect event, for example, the company demonstrated augmented social virtual reality, complete with facial expressions.

Scoble predicts that "most of us will be wearing mixed reality glasses three to four years from now," but this is also the same expert who has been lampooned for wearing the ill-fated Google Glass in the shower.

Still, if any product has the potential to take mixed reality mainstream, the iPhone 8 could be it.

Mark Spoonauer

Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for over 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.