Apple seems determined to integrate the Touch ID fingerprint sensor into the 10th anniversary iPhone’s display no matter how many challenges it faces. Samsung had tried to do the same with the Galaxy S8, but it was forced to move the feature to the rear panel due to technical problems. The Korean company has also given up on the in-display fingerprint sensor for the Galaxy Note 8. Apple isn’t enjoying a smooth ride either. An analyst says Apple hasn’t yet decided where and how to place the iPhone 8 fingerprint scanner.
iPhone 8 fingerprint scanner: Three methods
Cowen & Company analyst Timothy Arcuri told investors (via Apple Insider) on Wednesday that Apple was unlikely to use the rear-mounted fingerprint sensor on the iPhone 8 despite facing implementation and yield issues with the optical fingerprint solution. Arcuri said the company was exploring three different methods to integrate the fingerprint sensor into the display.
None of the three methods involve placing the iPhone 8 fingerprint scanner on the back panel. According to Arcuri, the three methods are: thinning the cover glass over the fingerprint sensor area, replacing the AuthenTec Touch ID with a “film” sensor integrated into the display, or creating a pinhole through the glass for an ultrasonic or optical fingerprint sensor.
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Cowen & Company claimed that Apple would decide on one of the three options by the end of June. Since Apple is still trying to work out the iPhone 8 fingerprint scanner, Arcuri predicts that the 10th anniversary iPhone shipments could be pushed back by one or two months. It corroborates with a report from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claiming that the iPhone 8 might not arrive until October/November.
iPhone 8 won’t be the first phone with on-screen fingerprint sensor
Even if there is a potential delay, Apple fans can be fairly certain that the iPhone 8 fingerprint scanner would sit under the display. However, the 10th anniversary iPhone might not be the first smartphone to offer an on-screen scanner. According to Chinese analyst Jiutang Pan, Vivo will likely be the first vendor to offer the in-display fingerprint solution. Apple might be the first non-Chinese company to do so. Other Chinese vendors such as Xiaomi and Huawei are also working on phones with optical fingerprint solutions.
Tim Arcuri is so confident about the delay in iPhone 8 launch that he has excluded the phone from his September quarter iPhone sales forecast. The analyst expects Apple to sell 46 million iPhones during the September quarter, well below the Wall Street consensus of 47-48 million units. However, iPhone sales could jump to 90 million units in the holiday quarter. Apple had sold 78.3 million iPhones during last year’s holiday quarter.
Rivals scrambling to secure component supply
Wall Street believes that the delay in iPhone 8 launch is unlikely to affect consumer demand. Arcuri maintains his Outperform rating on the stock with $160 price target. Electronics manufacturers are already scrambling to secure the supply of key components ahead of the iPhone 8 launch. Both Apple and the supply chain have sensed the massive demand for the 10th anniversary iPhone.
Giants like Samsung will have little problem securing the supply of components like DRAM chips and NAND flash memory. But others have started paying a premium to suppliers to lock into longer-term contracts. As Apple ramps up iPhone 8 component production, companies like LG Electronics are placing component orders ahead of time and paying a premium to “ensure a stable supply.”
Huawei has become the first victim of the component supply squeeze caused by iPhone 8. The company received heavy criticism after it was discovered that Huawei had used a mix of “less advanced and powerful chips” in its P10 smartphones. It resulted in huge performance variations among P10 users. Analysts have said that the NAND supply would be particularly affected because Apple has been consistently increasing the storage space on its flagship phones.
iPhone 8: Key features and specs
The 10th anniversary iPhone is rumored to feature a 5.8-inch edge-to-edge OLED display. At the bottom of the screen will be a function area similar to the Touch Bar on MacBook Pro, which would offer dynamic controls based on whatever app is on the screen. The device would also feature a 3D sensing module on the front for facial recognition. The dual camera system will be arranged vertically instead of horizontally, according to design leaks.
However, the iPhone 8’s biggest highlight would be augmented reality. Apple has already given developers ARKit to integrate augmented reality experiences into their apps. AR adds a virtual layer of information on the real world scenes. All these features and a radical new design are going to push the iPhone 8 price above $1,000 for higher storage variants.
iPhone 8 cases listed on MobileFun
British online retailer MobileFun has sent Mashable a few iPhone 8 cases and covers that confirm the phone’s design. MobileFun had listed an iPhone 8 screen protector on its site a few days ago. In the past, the e-tailer had accurately revealed key design elements of the iPhone 7 and Samsung Galaxy S phones. The cases confirm a vertical dual camera system and an all-screen display for iPhone 8.