Consistent bombardment of leaks and rumors in the last few months have almost confirmed many of the new features coming with Apple’s 10th anniversary iPhone 8. But sometimes there could be surprises. A new report claims that the iPhone 8’s fingerprint sensor will be located on the back panel. It contradicts previous rumors of an in-display fingerprint scanner.

Apple iPhone 8 Concept
Image Source: Moe Slah / Concepts iPhone / YouTube video (screenshot)

Why is Apple relocating Touch ID?

If it turns out to be true, the iPhone 8 will look a lot like Samsung’s brand new Galaxy S8. There is a consensus in the rumor mill that the 10th anniversary iPhone would feature a 5.8-inch OLED display with no side bezels. The screen will be curved on the edges, though the curves wouldn’t be as pronounced as the Galaxy S8. According to Nikkei, the curves will be there only for visual appeal.

Since Apple has opted to expand the iPhone 8 display by ditching the physical home button, the company was rumored to embed the fingerprint sensor under the display. Citing a source who spoke with a Foxconn employee, iDrop News reports the Touch ID fingerprint sensor will sit on the rear of the device, just like the Galaxy S8. Samsung had to relocate the fingerprint scanner because it ran out of time to place it in the Galaxy S8 display.

It’s quite possible that Apple found itself in a similar situation. Earlier this month, sources told DigiTimes that the iPhone 8 would use Apple’s custom fingerprint sensor. But the sensor won’t be ready for production until September. A September production schedule might push the iPhone 8 launch to November. So, Apple might have opted for a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner to bring the device on time.

It doesn’t mean you have to unlock and authenticate every time using the rear Touch ID. The iPhone 8 is widely expected to come with a 3D sensor module to support facial recognition technology. The unnamed source told iDrop News that the 10th anniversary iPhone wouldn’t feature glass or ceramic back panel as previously rumored. Apple has decided to stick to the metal back because the glass-back prototypes did not perform satisfactorily in drop tests.

The iPhone 8 may actually be called ‘iPhone Edition’

iDrop News added that the upcoming flagship smartphone would be named iPhone Edition rather than iPhone 8. Japanese Apple blog Mac Otakara has also pointed to the iPhone Edition moniker. Other names such as iPhone Pro and iPhone X have also been doing rounds. Since the device will celebrate the 10th anniversary of Apple’s iconic product, expect the name to be something special. For the time being, the rumor mill is sticking to the iPhone 8 moniker.

Vertical rear cameras could aid in depth perception

The site has also published a render that it says is based on the actual prototype. The render has the fingerprint sensor sitting below Apple’s logo on the back. On the front, the top and bottom bezels have been dramatically minimized, and the physical home button has been removed. The design looks similar to Samsung’s Galaxy S8.

One thing that you can’t ignore here is the dual-camera setup. The two cameras are stacked vertically on the iPhone 8 render. The cameras were stacked horizontally on the iPhone 7 Plus. The vertically-placed cameras could help enhance depth perception when the phone is mounted in a VR or AR headset.

Galaxy S8 ups the ante for the iPhone 8

Samsung’s Galaxy S8 has raised the bar for the iPhone 8. Apple still has a few months to ensure that the iPhone 8 matches or exceeds the S8 in terms of design and performance. The Galaxy S8 boasts of an OLED ‘Infinity’ display, a new Bixby AI assistant that also offers some augmented reality functions, a powerful Exynos 835 processor, and a sleek design.

Apple is rumored to venture into augmented reality (AR) with the iPhone 8. Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, KGI Securities and many others have reported that the next-gen iPhone would have dedicated hardware and software to support augmented reality. Nearly 1,000 Apple engineers are working at its Israel facility on various AR features and games. Tim Cook has also talked about augmented reality on many occasions.

iPhone 8 to be Apple’s most expensive smartphone

Among other things, the iPhone 8 would feature wireless charging and a new function area at the bottom of the screen. According to KGI Securities, the function area would be similar to the Touch Bar on the latest MacBook. It will offer dynamic controls depending on what’s on the screen. The iPhone 8 is rumored to pack a huge 2,700mAh battery, even though its form factor would be similar to the 4.7-inch iPhone 7.

The iPhone 8 is widely expected to cost more than $1,000. All the new features and design elements are going to increase the bill of materials (BOM), which Apple will eventually pass on to consumers. JPMorgan analyst Rod Hall said earlier this week that the high price tag would help curb some of the iPhone 8 demand. The analyst expects Apple to sell nearly 260 million iPhones this year, up from 211 million units last year.