Even though Apple is struggling to implement some key technologies into the iPhone 8, it anticipates strong consumer demand for the 10th anniversary iPhone. In fact, Apple expects all three smartphones releasing this year – including the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus – to do well. A new report coming out of Asia claims Apple suppliers will begin producing chips for the 2017 iPhones during the second quarter. They will further accelerate production towards the end of the quarter.
Apple planning to produce 100M units of the 2017 iPhones
Supply chain sources told DigiTimes that Apple had asked its Asian suppliers to build more than 50 million chips per quarter during the second half of this calendar year. Suppliers told the publication that this year’s orders were significantly higher than the previous years. The list of suppliers includes Broadcom, ADI, Cirrus Logic, NXP, Cypress, TSMC, Qualcomm, STMicroelectronics, and TI.
Overall, suppliers expect Apple to sell 220-230 million new iPhones during the first year of launch. The Cupertino company sold 78.3 million iPhones during the December 2016 quarter. The full year figures suggested by suppliers are only for the iPhone 8, iPhone 7S, and 7S Plus. The tech giant is expected to keep selling the iPhone SE, iPhone 7 and 7 Plus in decent numbers even after the arrival of the new iPhones this September.
If the report is accurate, Apple might produce more than 100 million units of the iPhone 8, iPhone 7S, and iPhone 7S Plus through the end of this year. On the other hand, Samsung reportedly aims to sell 60 million units of the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus by 2017-end. The new Galaxy phones have received a positive response from consumers, with Samsung receiving more than one million pre-orders in South Korea alone.
DigiTimes has a mixed record when it comes to predicting Apple’s future product features. But it is well-connected within Apple’s supply chain, and provides accurate information about order sizes and production schedules. TSMC has bagged the exclusive contract to fabricate the custom A11 chips for the iPhone 8 and iPhone 7S. The Taiwanese company has said previously that it would ramp up production of 10nm chips in the second half of this year.
Rear-mounted fingerprint sensor
A series of leaks and supply chain reports over the last few weeks have claimed that Apple is experiencing production issues with some features such as the 3D sensor and in-display fingerprint scanner. The technical difficulties could delay the iPhone 8 launch by a couple of months, though it will still arrive in time for the holiday shopping season.
Needham & Company analyst Rajvindra Gill believes that the first iPhone with the 3D sensor wouldn’t launch until 2018. As for the fingerprint sensor, if Apple fails to place it under the OLED display, the sensor could be relocated to the rear panel, similar to Samsung’s Galaxy S8.
A purported schematic of the iPhone 8 leaked by noted tipster Sonny Dickson shows the fingerprint sensor on the back of the phone. Also, the arrangement of the dual-camera setup has been changed from horizontal on the iPhone 7 Plus to vertical on the iPhone 8. The change in the camera module arrangement indicates that Apple would bring some augmented reality features with the iPhone 8.
iPhone 8 looks to be taking a new direction pic.twitter.com/mG19bcDYiC
— Sonny Dickson (@SonnyDickson) April 19, 2017
Galaxy Note 8 to have as good dual-camera as the iPhone 8
KGI Securities senior analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in a research note that Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy Note 8 phablet would also feature a dual-camera system. The Note 8 is expected to launch around the same time as the iPhone 8. Kuo told investors that the Note 8’s dual camera would be superior to that of the iPhone 7 Plus. In fact, it could even match the iPhone 8.
If the report turns out to be true, the Galaxy Note 8 could give the iPhone 8 some serious competition. According to KGI Securities, the dual camera on Samsung’s phablet would include 3x optical zoom, 13MP telephoto CIS, 12MP wide-angle CIS with dual photodiode (2PD), 6P lenses, and dual OIS.
Lightning to 3.5mm headphone jack adapter to be bundled with iPhone 8
Meanwhile, Barclays analyst Blayne Curtis said in a research report that Apple would bundle the Lightning to 3.5mm headphone jack adapter with all three iPhones coming this fall. The Cupertino company had taken the same approach with the iPhone 7 last year to make it easier for consumers to use a device that lacks the 3.5mm headphone jack.
Curtis believes that Apple will drop the Lighting to 3.5mm headphone jack adapter in 2018. Cirrus Logic, which makes components for the bundled adapter, will continue to benefit from it for at least another year. Apple also offers $159 wireless AirPods, but they are way too expensive.
The iPhone 8 is rumored to feature wireless charging, augmented reality, a 3D facial scanner, improved waterproofing, and no physical home button. Instead of the home button, the bottom of the front panel would house a virtual function area that would be similar to the Touch Bar on the latest MacBook. The function area would offer you dynamic controls depending on which app you are using.
The 10th anniversary iPhone is rumored to cost upward of $1,000, though some reports claim it would be only slightly more expensive than the iPhone 7S Plus.