iPhone 8’s biggest features could be disabled at launch

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iPhone 8 wireless charging
We may have to wait for an update to activate wireless charging.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Some of the iPhone 8’s biggest new features could be disabled when the handset makes its debut this September.

A new report claims Apple is struggling to iron out software issues that are rendering wireless charging and another major feature unusable for now.

iPhone 8 is expected to be Apple’s biggest refresh since the introduction of the original iPhone ten years ago. A new design and a bigger OLED display are believed to be accompanied by new features like wireless charging, facial recognition, better water-resistance, and more.

According to Fast Company, two of those features could be disabled at launch. Sources claim that there is “a sense of panic in the air” at Apple as engineers scramble to iron out software bugs that are affecting wireless charging and 3D facial recognition.

It’s thought iPhone 8 will use a method of inductive charging, likely Qi, similar to that of rivals like the Galaxy S8. The components, supplied by Broadcom, are said to be just fine — but the software that controls the feature is “not ready for prime time.”

If Apple cannot fix the issues, wireless charging could be disabled when the iPhone 8 goes on sale this September. Users would then have to wait for a future iOS update for it to be enabled — just like Portrait Mode on iPhone 7 Plus, which wasn’t ready for launch last fall.

Similar problems are affecting the iPhone 8’s new 3D facial recognition sensors, the report adds — and that could be an even bigger issue.

“Without confirming that’s what the front-facing 3D sensor is for, my source says Apple has been struggling to get the sensor to work reliably,” writes Mark Sullivan. “Again, the sensor hardware is not the problem, but rather the accompanying software.”

Some rumors have claimed facial recognition will replace Touch ID this year, so that Apple can make room for the larger edge-to-edge display, which means iPhone 8 adopters may be without any biometric security options until facial recognition is ready to be activated.

However, Sullivan’s source adds that Apple will integrate Touch ID into the iPhone 8’s display, so we don’t have to worry about fingerprint scanning disappearing.

The iPhone 8 will launch alongside the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus, which will offer more incremental upgrades and a more familiar design, this September.

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