The rumor mill, Wall Street, and Apple fans are almost certain that the Cupertino company would release three iPhones this September. Two of them, likely to be called iPhone 7S and 7S Plus, would retain the design of the current flagship devices. The 10th-anniversary model, iPhone 8, will sport an entirely new design. A fresh leak shows the molds of all three iPhones coming this year.
iPhone 8 and iPhone 7S to have similar dimensions
With the iPhone 8 launch just a few months away, Apple is likely to have finalized its design. The device will sport a 5.8-inch curved OLED display. The leaked pictures of molds were posted on the Chinese micro-blogging site Weibo and first spotted by SlashLeaks. The three iPhones are placed side by side to show the key differences between them.
Note that these molds are not the actual iPhones. They are reportedly intended for the dummy iPhone units or to create new iPhone cases. From the molds, it is clear that the 10th anniversary iPhone 8 is only slightly taller and wider than the 4.7-inch iPhone 7S. It is much smaller than the 5.5-inch iPhone 7S Plus despite sporting a bigger 5.8-inch display. That’s because the 10th anniversary device will have incredibly thin bezels and no physical home button.
You can also see the cutouts for the main camera, which matches past leaks. The 4.7-inch model retains its predecessor’s single camera setup. The 7S Plus sports a dual camera system, placed horizontally like the current iPhone 7 Plus. The iPhone 8 has a vertically placed dual camera setup, confirming the previous leaks. Recently leaked CAD renders revealed that the camera bump on the iPhone 8 back panel would house the two lenses as well as the flash.
What are those holes for?
Apple reportedly opted for the vertical orientation of dual cameras for two reasons. One is obviously the reduction in the width of the chassis. The second reason is the augmented reality applications coming to the iPhone 8 this year. The tech giant has hundreds of engineers in Israel working on various software and hardware features to support the AR applications.
According to 9to5Mac, the two holes seen near the center might not be related to any specific hardware changes. It’s just a “manufacturing artefact” of how the molds are made. The molds don’t shed light on where the Touch ID fingerprint sensor is going to sit. Since the iPhone 8 is said to have an all-glass front with no home button, the Touch ID could be embedded in the display itself. Some past leaks have suggested that it could be placed on the back panel. However, Apple is unlikely to compromise with user-friendliness and aesthetics.
All three iPhones to feature inductive wireless charging
The iPhone 8 will have the front and rear panels made out of glass. They will be supported by a stainless steel frame in the middle. The rear glass will help facilitate the inductive wireless charging technology. According to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, all three iPhones releasing this year will feature wireless charging. It means the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus will have to ditch their predecessors’ aluminum casing in favor of a glass back panel.
The iPhone 8 is also said to have a 3D sensing module on the front for facial recognition and AR applications. Apple is sourcing the 3D sensor from LG Innotek, with which it has placed an initial order of $177 million. LG Innotek has setup a new facility with a $238 million investment to produce the 3D sensors. According to Goldman Sachs analyst Simona Jankowski, the 3D modules will add $35 to the iPhone 8’s cost.
All three iPhones are said to be powered by Apple’s custom A11 chips. Taiwan-based TSMC recently started the A11 mass production with a view to having 50 million units ready by the end of July. The announcement of iOS 11 at WWDC next month will offer some additional clues about the upcoming iPhones. For instance, Apple could introduce a new Dark Mode to take advantage of the iPhone 8’s OLED display.
The most expensive iPhone
The iPhone 8 is not going to be cheap. In fact, not many people will be able to afford it. But analysts forecast strong demand for the 10th anniversary device, given its new design and exciting new features. Simona Jankowski of Goldman Sachs predicts that Apple would charge $999 for the 128GB model and $1,099 for the 256GB version of the iPhone 8.
Jankowski said the OLED panel alone would add about $35 to the phone’s bill of materials. The 3D sensing modules will add $20 and the upgraded memory would add $16-$29 to the phone’s costs. Last week, DigiTimes reported that TPK Holdings and General Interface Solution have hiked the price of 3D Touch components by 150%. That’s because embedding the 3D Touch into OLED panel would require more glass than LCD panels on the front and back for additional strength. The 3D Touch components for LCD cost $7-$9 per unit. The price is expected to shoot up to $18-$22 for OLED displays.
iPhone 8 launch: Delay or no delay?
There have been numerous reports so far about the iPhone 8 delay. Apple is facing technical difficulties with multiple new features. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes the iPhone 8 production won’t ramp up until October. Even if Apple announces it alongside the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus in September, the 10th anniversary iPhone is unlikely to hit the store shelves until October or November.
More recent reports indicate that there will be no delay. According to noted Twitter leaker @OnLeaks, the handset is on track to enter mass production in August, and will go on sale in September. However, the phone may face supply shortages during the first few weeks of launch. If Apple manages to launch the 10th anniversary iPhone without delay, it would be a treat for loyal iPhone fans. A recent survey by Morgan Stanley showed that 92% of the current iPhone owners were willing to upgrade in the next 12 months despite the iPhone 8’s record high price tag.