iPhone 8 leaks come in every day, and fresh reports reveal more detail on design, Touch ID, and OLED supply management. The iPhone 8 is tipped to ditch Touch ID altogether in a latest analyst report, and separately another report testifies the vertical dual camera setup reported in the past.
Japanese blog Macotakara reports that the iPhone 8 will sport a glass back and front, something similar to the iPhone 4 which had a metal frame, but a glass back. It also suggests that the company would bring the dual camera setup similar to the one seen on the iPhone 7 Plus, but will place it on the iPhone 8 vertically, essentially compatible for VR shooting. The report states that this design has recently moved from EVT to DVT status (engineer to design validation test).
The report also states that the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus may be slightly thicker than the predecessors due to upgrade tweaks. While there's no mention of what happens to Touch ID, a separate analyst report by Andy Hargreaves at Pacific Crest Securities claims that there might not be one at all. The research note shared by MacRumors, claims that if Apple cannot come up with a viable solution to solve the optical fingerprint sensor yield rate issues, it may just ditch it altogether.
"Likely options for Apple include a delay of production or elimination of fingerprint sensing on the OLED iPhone. We believe Apple continues to work on solving its optical fingerprint issues. If it's able to solve the problems in the next month or so, it would likely place volume orders at that point. This would likely lead to a delay of the OLED iPhone launch, but we would not expect it to meaningfully affect volume for the cycle. If it's not able to fix the problems in that time frame, Apple may be forced to eliminate fingerprint sensing from the OLED iPhone altogether," Hargreaves notes.
Apple removing Touch ID altogether and relying only on facial recognition does not seem feasible, and will raise questions over security and convenience. The company does have the option to place the Touch ID at the back, but it's not a user-friendly option, and Apple could look at it as a fall back option if nothing else.
Furthermore, a separate report by The Investor claims that Samsung is handling most of the OLED panel derivatives supply chain as well, as Apple is still a novice in this department. Samsung is the largest developer of OLED and has been employing them in its smartphones. It knows the peripheral components that work well with the display, and has been managing it for Apple as well. It is playing 'a key role in the overall supply chain management that consists of its own key parts suppliers'.
The report states, "Samsung's non-memory chip unit System LSI will supply display driver IC, the display chip for the OLED screen, while STEMCO and LG Innotek will provide the chip on films that connect it to the printed circuit board. The flexible printed circuit board will be provided by Interflex, BH and Samsung Electro-Mechanics."
Apple has reportedly ordered 70 million OLED panels from Samsung for the iPhone 8. Other companies like LG, Sharp, Japan Display, and BOE are in the running to be able to mass produce OLED panels by 2018, but for now Samsung dominates the market.