Will Apple manage to successfully embed Touch ID into the OLED display of the iPhone 8, or will it have to follow in the footsteps of Android device makers and opt for a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor?
None of the above, claims well-respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a list of predictions he’s made for the next iPhone, Kuo claims Apple will skip Touch ID altogether for its next-gen handset. And that’s not the only surprise!
“We predict the OLED model [iPhone 8] won’t support fingerprint recognition,” Kuo writes. The reasons? The full-screen design doesn’t work with existing capacitive fingerprint recognition, and under-the-display fingerprint recognition tech still isn’t ready.
Kuo alluded to this problem in a separate research note, in which he poured cold water on Qualcomm’s recent demo of under-the-display fingerprint technology by pointing out that it’s not yet ready to ship.
This doesn’t explain why Apple wouldn’t adopt a rear touch sensor, as seen on the Samsung Galaxy S8 — but, if true, maybe Jony Ive and team just weren’t willing to compromise if Apple couldn’t get its Touch ID display tech working.
If the iPhone 8 doesn’t ship with a fingerprint sensor, it will be the first iPhone to lack one since 2013’s iPhone 5s. Touch ID came into existance after Apple acquired biometrics company AuthenTec the previous July. That $356 million deal gave Apple the right to use AuthenTec hardware, software and patents.
A whole lot more predictions
That’s not the end of Kuo’s predictions. He also suggests the new iPhone 8 will boast the highest screen-to-body ratio of any smartphone currently available worldwide, and that it will distinguish its “boutique” status by offering a smaller range of handset colors than other recent iPhones.
It will also only come in one screen size, which Kuo says will be 5.2-inches or 5.8-inches “depending on the definition of screen size in use.” (Don’t worry if you want a different size, though, because he predicts that Apple will also launch the usual 4.7- and 5.5-inch displays for LCD iPhone 7s models.)
In addition, he claims that the OLED iPhone 8 will support 3D sensing for facial recognition and improved selfie quality. Both the iPhone 8 and iPhone 7s Plus will come with dual cameras and 3GB DRAM, he says, while the 4.7-inch iPhone 7s will have only 2GB DRAM for its single camera.
All three new models, Kuo suggests, will come with 64GB and 256GB storage options, and all three will have a Lightning port — although “there will be an embedded USB-C power delivery IC for higher charging efficiency.”
Kuo says Apple will announce all three phones at the same time in September, but that the OLED iPhone 8 will likely ship later than the LCD phones. “Supply tightness,” he writes, “may not improve before [Q1 2018.]”
Finally, he forecasts that shipments of all three models will be between 80 million and 85 million units this year, with an equal split between the OLED and LCD iPhones.
If you’re in the mood for more iPhone 8 gossip, you can check out our own list of expectations for the next-gen iPhones here.