Recently, we wrote about how Samsung was facing problems with the Galaxy Note 8 fingerprint sensor, but what about Apple? How is its widely-rumored iPhone 8 launch going to be affected by pesky fingerprint sensor issues? The answer, if you believe the hype, is that it could be delayed by a couple of months. Here’s what you need to know.
iPhone 8 launch delay
As you probably already know, there’s a race between the mobile world’s two biggest brands. Both Samsung and Apple are trying to embed an on-screen fingerprint sensor into the displays of their next flagships. As we mentioned above, we wrote about the South Korean company’s problems earlier; click the first link above to find out more.
So will Apple be able to deliver on the tenth-anniversary handset challenge set out for it by critics, industry insiders and the rumor mill? We certainly hope so, but when a product becomes laden down with new features, the chance of a major issue increases.
Apple has given neither the press nor consumers any indication that an iPhone 8 launch will happen. And it certainly has not provided any details about a fingerprint sensor. This rumor was started way back when it became clear that the race towards a bezel-free future came with issues regarding where the Touch ID would be placed.
Slapping it on the back of a handset as Samsung has done with the Galaxy S8 is not a good solution. After all, Apple fans expect a certain level of design quality, and no tenth-anniversarry device worth its salt could have such a design feature. So the consensus is that Apple is/must be working on an on-screen sensor that will enable a user to unlock the next iPhone with ease.
Whether true or false, there have been rumors circling for some time which indicate Apple may have run into issues that are similar to what Samsung has been struggling with. What that means is that it’s not a simple thing to embed a state-of-the-art piece of tech under a smartphone’s display. It takes time and probably millions of dollars. The thought that this embedded fingerprint sensor tech has been given up on for the next iPhone does not bode well for Apple. However, according to reports, the company is determined to get it right, even if that means the iPhone 8 launch could be delayed by a month or two, which could be a blessing in disguise.
It would mean Apple fans will only get the very best that the company can provide. It also shows that the iPhone 8 will indeed be a radical departure from what we’ve seen recently.
Apple has faced the same screen brightness imbalance issue as Samsung and the opaque chip problem. However, both relate to embedding the fingerprint sensor beneath the screen, so if there are others ways of doing it, Apple would surely be foolish not to consider them. Fortunately, that’s exactly what it’s doing, if you believe Cowen & Co. analyst Timothy Arcuri.
According to Arcuri, Apple has been pursuing different methods of achieving the same goal since day one, and it has yet to finalize which of three possible ways it will finally choose to use. Please take the following with a grain of salt, as this information cannot be verified.
1. Possibly a clear favorite, if the embedding does not go well, is the appearance of a glass cutout. While being attached to the main display, it would not truly be a part of it. So it could be a real contender; however, the issue of opaqueness still applies.
2. Next, according to Arcuri, is the possibility of a pinhole somewhere in the front glass. This hole would allow optical or ultrasonic fingerprint sensing. However, the question is whether dust and dirt could be embedded in such a hole and if so, how it would affect its accuracy.
3. And then finally, there’s the preferred method of embedding the fingerprint sensor into the display itself. Obviously, this is the more technically challenging solution. Which would you prefer Apple to pursue?
Arcuri isn’t clear on which method Apple will adopt, but he’s adamant that the fingerprint sensor won’t be on the back. So if he’s right, that means Apple will not compromise just to bring the iPhone 8 launch, so expect delays.
Delayed until the fourth quarter
How long could the iPhone 8 launch be delayed? Arcuri predicts that while we will get to see an announcement in September, shipments of the smartphone will not begin to roll out for one or two months. That means it will be the fourth quarter of 2017 before you will be able to get your hands on one.
However, as for any possible impact on sales, Arcuri, doesn’t think Apple will be affected. In fact, he believes that an astounding 90 million units will be shifted into the final quarter of the year. That’s nearly 12 million more than were sold at the same point in 2016, which, if accurate, would break sales records.