Yet another day, yet another iPhone 8 leak. We recently saw the 3D design drawing of the 10th anniversary iPhone based on details provided by a Foxconn insider. Now Chinese publication iFanr.com has come up with new iPhone 8 design sketches, though some of the details seem questionable. Notably, iFanr is the same publication that leaked the iPhone 6 screen design in 2014 and posted images of the 12-inch MacBook in 2015.
Schematics suggest iPhone 8 won’t have edge-to-edge display
According to the sketches, the OLED screen will dominate the face of the iPhone 8. Its display measures 5.768 inches diagonally, covering almost the entire front panel. The report claims the entire display will be usable. It contradicts a previous report from reputed KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who said the usable display area would be only 5.2-inches. The remaining space would house a new “function area,” added Kuo.
The schematics show a 4mm bezel on all sides, which consists of 2.5mm 2.5D curved glass and 1.5mm of the stainless steel casing. It means, unlike the Galaxy S8, the iPhone 8 screen would not be edge-to-edge. The device is 137.54mm tall and measures 67.54mm in width. By comparison, the current flagship iPhone 7 Plus stands 158.22mm tall and has bezels of 5.1mm.
— KK Sneak Leaks (@kksneakleaks) April 17, 2017
According to the sketches, the iPhone 8 would be nearly as tall as the 4.7-inch iPhone 7, but slightly wider than the iPhone 7. What seems hard to believe about the iFanr’s schematics is that it claims the front-facing sensors would sit underneath the OLED display. You can see a cutout at the top of the phone’s front panel for sensors such as the infrared transmitter and receiver, 3D sensor, a laser sensor, FaceTime camera, and speaker.
The publication claims the speaker would be cut through both the glass and the screen material. That would be difficult to implement, especially considering Apple is yet to figure out a way to successfully implement the fingerprint sensor in the display. The site presumes that the fingerprint sensor would be embedded in the display. But other reports claim it could be relocated to the rear panel.
Vertically arranged dual-camera system
iFanr says the front sensors would force Apple to change the rear camera positioning. The dual-camera system on the iPhone 8 would be placed vertically. The flash would sit between the two lenses, allowing each lens to support optical image stabilization. In contrast, only the wide angle lens on the iPhone 7 Plus has the OIS. Also, placing the rear camera lenses farther apart would help with 3D imaging and augmented reality features, says Ben Bajarin.
This looks a bit more reasonable than the last one.
Also camera lenses getting farther apart is a signal in the direction of 3D and AR. https://t.co/cIJGTm9V3X
— Ben Bajarin (@BenBajarin) April 17, 2017
The schematics suggest that the iPhone 8 power button on the side would be longer than on previous iPhones. The publication also claims the volume rockers could be powered by the Taptic Engine that we have seen on the iPhone 7 home button.
Technical issues with fingerprint scanner, 3D sensing
Meanwhile, analysts at Pacific Crest Securities said in a research note that some Apple suppliers might be in trouble as the Cupertino company is still struggling to implement the fingerprint sensor in the OLED display. Since the iPhone 8 will have a full-screen OLED panel, Apple has to eliminate the physical home button and embed the fingerprint scanner in the display.
Sources told Pacific Crest that Apple’s optical fingerprint module supplier hasn’t yet received firm orders for production. It indicates that the company is still facing issues in implementing the optical fingerprint scanner. The iPhone maker has already evaluated Synaptics’ optical fingerprint sensor, but has decided not to use it.
If the optical fingerprint solution fails to meet Apple’s expectations, it may have to move the Touch ID sensor to the rear panel, as some previous leaks have suggested. However, the analysts are confident that the issue would not threaten volume through the coming iPhone cycle, even though it may cause production delays.
Earlier this month, Cowen & Company analyst Tim Arcuri told investors that Apple was facing bottlenecks with the implementation of the fingerprint sensor. Sources told Arcuri that yield rates for Apple’s AuthenTec solution were much lower than the company expected. And Apple was not interested in sourcing the parts from other vendors. Arcuri said Apple would finalize the fingerprint scanner specs by the end of May.
If the yield issues are not resolved by the end of May, Apple will have three options. One is to ditch the Touch ID and rely solely on the facial recognition technology. But Apple might not want to depend on facial recognition entirely because it’s a new technology that still needs to be refined. Arcuri said the second option was to relocate the Touch ID sensor to the back panel, which might not be user-friendly. The third option is to push back the iPhone 8 release.
Apple is also facing difficulties with the implementation of the 3D sensing module on the iPhone 8. Needham & Co. analyst Rajvindra Gill reports that Apple might not use the 3D sensor in the 10th anniversary iPhone. The analyst believes the feature would be introduced with the 2018 iPhone 8S rather than this year’s iPhone 8. The 3D sensor is needed for features like facial recognition and augmented reality.
Rajvindra Gill believes the Chinese Android vendors could bring the 3D sensor to their phones even before Apple. The iPhone 8S wouldn’t arrive until late 2018, but Chinese companies could bring the technology to the market by early next year.
Apple is also facing technical problems related to the lamination process of the curved OLED screens. It may cause Apple to push back the iPhone 8 release by one or two months. The Cupertino company is sourcing 70 million units of OLED panels from Samsung Display this year.
iPhone 8 design to remind you of the iPhone 4
Japanese Apple blog Mac Otakara has learned from its sources that the iPhone 8 would borrow some design elements from the iPhone 4. The iPhone 4 and 4S had a glass front and back supported by a stainless steel band. The 10th anniversary iPhone would also feature a glass sandwich design with a stainless steel frame.
Confirming iFanr’s claim, Mac Otakara reported that the iPhone 8’s dual-camera system will be arranged vertically rather than horizontally. Sources told the Japanese publication that this design layout recently moved from engineering to design validation test (DVT) phase. Mac Otakara added that the new camera setup could be used for virtual reality features.
The publication noted that the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus could be thicker than the current iPhone 7 and 7 Plus due to a slight reworking. The tech giant had previously increased the thickness of the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus compared to their predecessors to accommodate the new 3D Touch pressure sensitive display technology. Unlike the iPhone 8, the iterative upgrades iPhone 7S and 7S Plus would continue to use the LCD panels.
iPhone 8 to have 2700mAh battery, 3GB RAM
Apple is said to be eliminating the bezels and re-arranging the internal component layouts to pack a bigger battery in the iPhone 8. The 10th anniversary iPhone would pack a 2700mAh battery in an iPhone 7-sized form factor. The current iPhone 7 and 7 Plus feature a 1950mAh and 2900mAh battery, respectively. Cowen & Company believes that all the three smartphones coming this year would sport 3GB RAM.
The 10th anniversary iPhone is rumored to be priced above $1,000. But recent reports claim only the most expensive 256GB version would cost between $950 and $1,000. All other storage variants would cost less than $950.