There is no dearth of iPhone 8 wireless charging rumors. Along with the in-display fingerprint scanner and bezel-less OLED display, wireless charging is the most anticipated feature in the 10th anniversary iPhone. An Apple supplier has already revealed that wireless charging is coming to the iPhone 8.  Now Apple’s own software has dropped hints about the feature.

iPhone 8 Wireless Charging Energous
Image Credit: Energous Corporation / YouTube video (screenshot)

Is this the iPhone 8 wireless charging sound?

Apple announced the iOS 11 at WWDC event earlier this month, and subsequently made the beta version of the software available to developers for testing. One developer found a new sound file buried in the iOS 11 beta code, which could be used for iPhone 8 wireless charging. The sound file in question is titled “engage_power.caf.” It is distinctly different from the sound file for the charging tone in iOS 10, which is called “connect_power.caf”. You hear this tone when you connect your iPhone to a Lightning cable.

MacRumors points out that the new sound file provides a “longer, more distinct sound” that could be aimed at assuring users that their device is charging properly. It is unclear at this point whether only the iPhone 8 would support wireless charging or the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus would also support the feature. There have been contradictory reports about wireless charging in iPhone 7S and 7S Plus.

Some reports claim that, just like iPhone 8, the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus would feature a glass back panel to support the wireless charging functionality. Others indicate that the feature would be exclusive to the 10th anniversary iPhone because the other two handsets would retain the aluminum body of their predecessors.

Who has Apple partnered with for wireless charging?

It remains to be seen which company Apple has joined hands with for the wireless charging technology. Previously, there were speculations that it would use Energous’ long-distance WattUp technology that lets users charge their devices from a distance of up to 18 feet. But the technology is said to be suffering from low charging rates and object interference.

Apple has also been working with Broadcom on wireless charging for years. Broadcom and Energous are not the only companies collaborating with the iPhone maker on the technology. Apple has also been sourcing wireless charging components from MediaTek, LuxShare, and Lite-On Semiconductor. In February, the tech giant also joined the Wireless Power Consortium.

More recent rumors indicate that the iPhone 8 would feature a simple inductive charging technology similar to the one used in the Apple Watch. Inductive charging requires a smartphone to be placed on a charging mat or dock. It has certain drawbacks. For instance, wireless charging would stop the moment you pick up the phone. It is also relatively slower. Only time will tell how fast the iPhone 8 wireless charging technology will be.

iPhone 8 will be in scarce supply

Meanwhile, DigiTimes reports that Samsung Display is facing production and yield issues with OLED panels intended for the 10th anniversary iPhone. Samsung Display makes millions of OLED screens every year for Samsung’s in-house smartphones. The fact that it is facing serious technical issues with iPhone 8 OLED panels indicates that the iPhone 8 screens would be more complex than the regular OLED screens used on the Galaxy devices.

Sources told DigiTimes that only 3-4 million iPhone 8 units would be ready for shipping at the time of launch in September. It means the anniversary edition iPhone would launch only in limited quantities, and supply may not improve until October/November. Samsung Display was supposed to supply at least 70 million OLED panels for iPhone 8 by the end of this year.

How will Apple integrate the fingerprint scanner?

Other suppliers such as TSMC have already started supplying iPhone 8 components. Foxconn and Pegatron have stepped up hiring in China in preparation for the iPhone 8 mass production. However, OLED display is not the only feature troubling Apple. According to Cowen & Company analyst Tim Arcuri, Apple is yet to decide how to integrate the fingerprint sensor into the display.

The Cupertino company has decided not to relocate the Touch ID sensor to the back panel. Arcuri said Apple was exploring three different methods to embed the feature into the iPhone 8 display. The company would decide by the end of June which method to use in the final version of the device. One of them involves replacing the Touch ID with a film sensor. The second method requires creating a pinhole through the cover glass for an ultrasonic/optical fingerprint sensor. The third option is thinning the glass over the fingerprint sensor area.

The 10th anniversary iPhone would feature a vertically arranged dual camera system on the back, and 3D sensing modules on the front for facial recognition. The iPhone 8 is widely expected to feature hardware components needed to support augmented reality applications. The phone is said to cost upward of $1,000. However, analysts say only the 256GB storage variant would be priced above $1,000.