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Inside Apple’s ‘Secret’ iPhone 8 Production in Israel

September 28, 2016, 4:27 PM UTC

At least some of Apple’s efforts at building a new iPhone could be happening outside of Cupertino, according to a new report.

Apple is using an office in Herzliya, Israel to work on the “iPhone 8,” an employee reportedly told Business Insider. The unidentified employee who solders components for Apple, suggested that the smartphone could be known as the “iPhone 8” and would be “different” from the iPhone 7 and come with a major redesign. The smartphone might also have a better rear-facing camera. The employee didn’t discuss any other improvements, according to the report.

Apple (AAPL) launched its iPhone 7 earlier this month to considerable fanfare. However, the company has been criticized by some who say the iPhone 7’s design is too similar to that of the iPhone 6s. Critics have also shared concerns about Apple’s decision to remove the headphone jack in the iPhone 7.

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For its part, Apple has touted the iPhone 7’s enhanced power, thanks to the A10 processor, as well as its dramatically improved camera. The smartphone also comes with a new home button that senses a fingerprint and responds with a vibration whenever it helps users complete a function like make a payment with Apple Pay.

In years past, Apple has offered major upgrades to its iPhones every other year. This year was supposed to be the next time Apple would deliver such an update. However, the iPhone 7 isn’t as “major” of an upgrade as some had hoped, and there have been reports that Apple is planning a more substantial update for next year. That update could include new screen technology, an all-new design, and perhaps the TouchID fingerprint sensor under the glass.

The next iPhone would commemorate the 10th anniversary of Apple’s smartphone line.

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Given that, as well as Apple’s penchant for secrecy, it’s unclear whether the Apple employee who reportedly spoke to Business Insider is accurately depicting Apple’s work on a new smartphone. While it’s entirely possible that Apple could use its Israel office to work on some facets of the next iPhone’s design, its expected launch is still a year off and if it’s as major an update as reports say, only certain Apple employees and executives likely have access to the plans right now. It’s also unclear why development on an iPhone 8 would be happening in Israel when design chief Jony Ive has largely kept his work in California.

The employee’s use of the term “iPhone 8” might also be called into question. Again, it’s possible Apple could call its next smartphone iPhone 8, but the company typically doesn’t name a product a year in advance, and since it’s a 10th anniversary smartphone, it could come with a different iPhone brand.

Ultimately, only the top Apple executives know what the plans are for the iPhone’s future, and we likely won’t hear about them from any of those folks until next year.