UPDATE: 03-31-2017: With Samsung having unveiled the Galaxy S8, attention will now turn to Apple and the iPhone 8 later this year. This tenth anniversary device will have to answer to a Galaxy S8 release that has delivered arguably the most innovative package that Samsung has ever produced. Thus, it is not surprising that rumors about this critical hardware release are already multiplying rapidly.
The Galaxy S8 is notable for its radical design, and a new patent suggests that Apple may also introduce innovative new features into the iPhone 8. The document indicates that Apple is considering replacing the Touch ID system with an ultrasonic sensor, which will deliver two main advantages over the existing system.
Apple firstly suggests that the new technology would be unaffected by contaminants such as greece, lotion, and sweat. This is naturally a massive problem; who hasn’t attempted to utilize their iPhone on a crowded beach having applied sunscreen and encountered difficulties? The second advantage, as the consumer electronics giant sees it, is that the new technology will no longer struggle with too much or too little pressure influencing the quality of fingerprinting garnered.
There is no news on where this technology could be manufactured for the iPhone 8, but it is possible that Apple could recruit Qualcomm in order to deliver this.
Other reports this week suggest that there will be a third iPhone 8 unit released by Apple later this year. This would be a landmark in the iPhone range, as the Californian corporation has never previously released three handsets simultaneously. And the latest leaks suggest that this third iPhone device could actually be ceramic, at least if a report authored by Fast Company is to be believed.
This ceramic device would cost in excess of $1,000, with Fast Company describing it as “something like a smooth black monolith, with few visual interruptions to its sleek design”. There still seems to be some disagreement over whether or not all models in the iPhone 8 series will benefit from OLED technology, or whether it will merely be the premium version. But there is broad agreement that this third version of the iPhone 8 will indeed diverge from LCD.
Japanese website Mac Otakara is one of the sources suggesting that the most premium and newest features in the iPhone 8 will only be applied to a new version. The East Asian source suggests that this smartphone will be branded as the iPhone 8 Edition, just as Apple released a premium Apple Watch Edition previously.
However, this publication also explodes the idea that Apple will release three models simultaneously, instead suggesting that the iPhone edition could be released several months after the standard iPhone 8 handset.
3D sensing linked
Elsewhere, rumors of 3D sensing features being included in the next generation of iPhone continue to accelerate. Taiwanese Himax Technologies has reportedly been recruited by Apple in order to form part of the supply chain for the iPhone 8, with the company responsible for providing glass for a module constructed by Lumentum.
It is believed that Lumentum, a component supplier, will provide the 3D sensing models to be utilized in the iPhone 8, with the front camera then delivering both 3D sensing and 3D modelling capabilities. Facial recognition will be a natural fit for this technology, while augmented reality and virtual reality functions will also likely feature. Tim Cook has previously spoken of the potential of augmented reality for the iPhone range.
According to Digitimes, the module being developed will use technology known as vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser-based DOE (diffractive optical elements). A bit of a mouthful, I’m sure you’d agree! Chip-on-glass construction will also be utilized, with Himax and ChipMOS also involved in the process.
This latest report is rather timely, as it follows on the back of Morgan Stanley analyst Charlie Chan writing on the possibility of Himax being involved in the Apple supply chain for the iPhone 8. Other reports suggest that innovative technology developed by the company has the ability to reduce the size of 3D sensing components, making them more suitable for mobile products.
Following on from the release of the Galaxy S8, it know seems extremely unlikely that the iPhone 8 will feature a similar wraparound display. Infamous Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has previously indicated his belief that the forthcoming Apple mobile will feature an edge-to-edge screen, enabling the Cupertino-based manufacturer to slim down the bezels included in the iPhone 8 significantly.
Kuo also believes that Apple will be increasing the screen size of the iPhone 8 to approximately 5.8-inches, which would make perfect sense after Samsung showed off its latest 5.8-inch S8 release. If Apple does indeed release three models of the iPhone 8 in September, it is likely that the other two releases will retain the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch displays used in previous iPhone series. There is no word on branding as of yet, but these could also be named differently to the iPhone 8 module, possibly as the iPhone 7S and iPhone 7S Plus.
There is also good reason to believe that Apple will include wireless charging technology in the iPhone 8. One interesting morsel of information that has slid under the radar to some extent was the Californian corporation joining the Wireless Power Consortium just weeks ago. This organisation is responsible for overseeing standards involved with wireless charging technology, indicating that Apple may be about to produce devices that can be charged wirelessly for the first time.
Meanwhile, although Apple is expected to embrace curved screen technology in the iPhone 8 generation, its approach may be slightly different to its Korean rival. JP Morgan analyst Rod Hall suggests that the screen in the tenth anniversary iPhone will be slightly less curved that the Galaxy S8, with Hall writing that “current indications are for less use of curved OLED which may result in a slightly less ‘infinity’ screen form factor.”
UPDATE: 03-24-2017: We are well accustomed by now to seeing huge queues for new iPhone releases. And this may be even more prominent with the release of the iPhone 8, following news which has emerged this week.
Three iPhone releases are expected in September, with the iPhone 8 been accompanied by two iPhone 7S models. But a new report suggests that the initial stock of the iPhone 8 will be so minimal that consumers can expect it to sell out almost immediately once preorders begin. It is noted that production for certain components to be utilized in the iPhone 8 can only commence in the third quarter, suggesting that Apple is likely to have enough stock to meet demand when the device launches.
This prediction is contained in a major new research note from the investment bank Barclays. It suggests that the majority of iPhone 8 stock may not be available until later in Q4. “Suppliers generally had good things to say about the upcoming iPhone 8 launch (for our purposes iPhone 7s, iPhone 7s Plus, and iPhone Pro) as new features drive a more complicated manufacturing process and higher