For weeks, rumors have been swirling in the tech world about a possible iPhone 8 release date delay. Many observers have been taking those rumors with a grain of salt. After all, it seems like that every year there are rumors of trouble in paradise at the Apple factories. However, as the expected announcement date of the new smartphone grows closer, the rumors seem to be building. Where there’s smoke, there’s often fire.
Barron’s obtained a note from several industry analysts that outlines the dire situation Apple seems to find themselves in. The root cause of the iPhone 8 release date delay appears to be trouble as a result of the fingerprint sensor. Speculation has long been hinting at the Touch ID sensor being embedded under the OLED screen on the new iPhone 8. This would be the first time the smartphone manufacturer has attempted to move the sensor away from the home button.
According to Andy Hargreaves, an analyst with KeyBanc Capital Markets, the new location of the Touch ID sensor is reducing accuracy and reliability when compared with past models. This would obviously be unacceptable to many iPhone owners who have grown accustom to Apple’s responsive Touch ID feature. With Apple frantically working around the clock to find a workaround, time is beginning to run out.
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It’s estimated that, in order to avoid an iPhone 8 release date delay, Apple would have to place an order for the fingerprint sensors sometime in August. This would put the launch of the new iPhone sometime in October or early November which is in line with previous iPhone launches. However, if Apple is unable to resolve the current issues facing the fingerprint sensor then the company will be faced with two options: either release the device without a Touch ID sensor or accept an iPhone 8 release date delay.
Obviously neither option is an ideal one for Apple, especially since this year is the 10th anniversary of the original iPhone. An iPhone 8 release date delay means the new smartphone would be hitting retail locations sometime in late November or even December. Losing several weeks of holiday shopping time could be devastating for the company’s sales. However, launching the device on-time without a Touch ID sensor opens up several different cans of worms.
First, smartphone consumers are never happy to lose features with new devices. Owners of previous iPhones may not see a need to upgrade to the latest model if they are frequent users of the Touch ID feature. It’s never a good look for a company when their biggest fans see the new model as a potential step backward.
Secondly, the loss of Touch ID could have negative effects on the growing Apple Pay ecosystem. Many people who use Apple Pay will authorize their payments using Touch ID. This is the fastest, most reliable way to authorize an Apple Pay payment. Of course, the fingerprint is not the only way to authorize an Apple Pay purchase. Facial recognition is also available. However, facial recognition is slightly less reliable than Touch ID. Facial recognition can depend heavily on the lighting in the area which many users cannot control when they are out shopping. Even though facial recognition only has a 5% higher failure rate than Touch ID, that 5% could mean thousands of failed payments every single day. The fear is that customers could begin to push back and great negative press for Apple.
Of course, those are the worst-case-scenarios for Apple as they enter the final weeks before ramping up production. The ideal scenario for the company would be to solve the current issues facing the new placement of the Touch ID sensor and avoid an iPhone 8 release date delay altogether. With many industry analysts expecting the iPhone 8 to break sales records for the company, and Samsung launching their much anticipated Galaxy Note 8, Apple can hardly afford any missteps this close to the announcement of their new flagship device.
iPhone fans will be waiting with bated breath to find out when they can get their hands on what is expected to be the hottest device this fall. It seems that one final hurdle remains in the way of Apple and if they can solve their latest hardware issue, consumers could be in store for one of the most exciting product launches of the year.