UPDATE: 04-21-2017:  Apple is expected to stick to its usual release schedule for the iPhone 8, meaning that the smartphone will likely appear in September. There will be huge anticipation surrounding this device that marks the tenth anniversary of the iPhone range, and rumors surrounding the handset are beginning to intensify.

And reports this week have suggested that Apple is already considering design parameters for the iPhone 8, with a leaked image purported to be of the next generation smartphone garnering attention.

iPhone 8
hurk / Pixabay

iPhone 5 resemblance

The photograph depicts a smartphone that somewhat resembles a slimmed down iPhone 5, with an extra hole notable beneath the Apple logo. Analysts have suggested that this hole can be considered the relocated Touch ID fingerprint scanner. Apple has been working on the technology required in order to embed this sensor for several years, and the iPhone 8 was expected to debut this innovation.

However, it is also suggested that Apple is struggling to develop this technology to the point where it can be satisfactorily mass-produced for a major device such as the iPhone 8. In order to deal with this problem, Apple is supposedly considering the possibility of relocating the scanner to the back of the smartphone. But there having been tentative suggestions that the consumer electronics giant could even push the release date of the iPhone 8 back a few weeks, or even months.

Release date delay

This latter suggestion, though, seems rather unlikely, with Apple surely far more likely to make compromises to the design of the iPhone 8 than risk a later release date. It seems almost certain that the Californian corporation is experimenting with several designs at present, as preparations for the iPhone 8 continue. If it is remotely practical to implement one of these, rather than change the release schedule that has worked so well for the consumer electronics giant, then Apple will surely do so.

Analyst murmurings

Nonetheless, this hasn’t prevented some analysts from suggesting that the iPhone 8 will indeed be pushed backwards. In order to compensate for this difficulty, the consumer electronics giant is expected to release two iPhone 7S models, probably with the same screen size as the existing iPhone 7. Meanwhile, the release date of the 5.8-inch iPhone 8 will then be moved back several weeks.

Apple analyst Brian White noted that “our contact strongly believes the 5.8in iPhone 8 will be delayed by several weeks due to challenges around the 3D sensing technology, but still in time for the December holidays.” White suggests that several supply problems are hampering the preparation for the iPhone 8, and Apple may be forced to delay delivery as a consequence.

Green credentials

In other iPhone 8 news, it seems that Apple is looking to enhance its already credible green credentials by producing particularly environmentally-friendly versions of future smartphone releases. In its annual environmental responsibility report, Apple indicated that it intends to mine materials from the earth in order to manufacture future gadgets.

“Traditional supply chains are linear. Materials are mined, manufactured as products, and often end up in landfills after use. Then the process starts over and more materials are extracted from the earth for new products. We believe our goal should be a closed-loop supply chain, where products are built using only renewable resources or recycled material,” the report noted.

Apple has gone to significant lengths to ensure that customers return used in products for recycling, while the company also melts down iPhone aluminum enclosures in order to manufacture minicomputers utilized in his factories. “For tin, we took a different approach,” the company stated. “Unlike aluminum, there is an existing market supply of recycled tin that meets our quality standards.”

Thus, Apple has been able to use recycled tin for the manufacturing of the iPhone 6S. And the Cupertino-based company has indicated that its goal is “to one day end our reliance on mining altogether.” While Apple has been reluctant to disclose the precise percentage of recycled materials utilized in its products, there is no doubt that this is significant.

Greenpeace praise

And the company has been praised by environmental groups for its commitment to environmentally-friendly procedures. Greenpeace senior analyst Gary Cook is one such individual keen to acknowledge that a company sometimes criticized for its industrial practices has made significant efforts in this area.

“Apple’s commitment to 100 percent recycled materials is ambitious, and highlights the need for greater urgency across the sector to reduce resource consumption and e-waste that are causing significant impacts on the environment and human health,” Cook asserted.

Greenpeace believes that manufacturing new gadgets with reclaimed materials increases the tendency for devices to be recycled. Naturally this is to be encouraged, and Apple has done rather well with achieving a brand image that has positive connotations with green issues.

Apple has also received plaudits from environmental campaigners for investing strongly in green energy for its operations. This is one area in which Apple has made specific claims, with the hardware manufacturer stating that 96% of the electricity utilized at its global facilities emanates from renewable sources. Furthermore, the new ‘spaceship’ main campus of Apple is now powered entirely by renewable energy.

New updates

Apple is also expected to include a wide variety of upgrades in the iPhone 8, with the most important being the introduction of OLED technology. Changing the form of display technology included in the iPhone 8 poses certain challenges for Apple, and could make the reports of release date delay more credible.

There have already been reports which have suggested that Apple is struggling to locate satisfactory quantities of OLED displays, with Samsung, of course, already utilizing this technology in its Galaxy devices. Even though Apple seemingly intends to release only one model of the iPhone 8 generation with an OLED screen, it will still be logistically challenging for the company to acquire enough units.

So it will be interesting to see how the iPhone 8 develops in the coming months, and what announcements Apple makes.

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.

Ultrasonic sensor

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.

iPhone 8
cicwdn / Pixabay

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

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