Bloomberg has today published its overview of Apple’s plans for the new iPhone lineup this year, largely reaffirming what the rumor mill has said up to now. Apple will reportedly launch three new iPhones in the fall, iterative successors to the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, and a new ‘top of the line’ iPhone 8 with an ‘overhauled’ design.
Bloomberg details various prototypes for the radical new OLED iPhone with variations of curved glass and stainless steel chassis materials …
The report says that Apple is testing a near bezel-less front panel, as we have seen reported since last year. Bloomberg says the screen will cover ‘almost the entire front of the device’ squeezing a display larger than the Plus’ 5.5-inch display in a physical body that is closer to a 4.7-inch iPhone.
Bloomberg does not name specific dimensions, previous reports suggest that the iPhone 8 will feature a 5.8-inch OLED screen. Bloomberg reiterates that Apple plans to use a virtual home button via software, akin to Samsung’s Galaxy S8. It says the iPhone 8 will adopt an OLED panel whilst the ‘iPhone 7s’ phones will use the same LCD screens as every iPhone to date.
In terms of the high-end iPhone, Bloomberg says Apple has tested various designs. ‘One of the latest’ prototypes uses curved glass on the front and back, with a stainless steel band sandwiched between. This sounds like other rumors which pointed towards a design similar to the iPhone 4.
The report says Apple tested a more extreme version of this glass/steel motif with ‘dramatic curves’ harkening back to the original 2007 iPhone design. However, Apple suppliers apparently face issues in production of curved glass at mass scale. This means the company is likely to opt to ship the prototype described above with slighter curves.
KGI’s Ming-Chi Kuo has said Apple will adopt glass for the 2017 iPhone more than a year ago. Bloomberg also says Apple has tested a design with an aluminium back, which seems to be the ‘fallback’ choice if the glass prototypes were unsuccessful.
With a near bezel-less front, the rumor mill has focused recently on what Apple will do with the Touch ID fingerprint sensor. There has been little consensus here with different sources reporting that Apple will integrate the sensor behind the screen, merely put it on the back like Android, or drastically not use Touch ID at all. Bloomberg says Apple has tested integrating the fingerprint scanner into the OLED screen but it is ‘unclear if that feature will make it into the final product’.
Regarding cameras, Bloomberg reaffirms other leaks that indicate Apple will use a vertically-stacked dual camera component for the iPhone 8. For the front camera, Bloomberg says Apple is also testing a dual-lens system. The company has also explored integrating cameras into the screen, like the rumored fingerprint sensor.
As expected, the all new iPhone will run iOS 11, set to be announced at WWDC in June. Intriguingly, Bloomberg hints that iOS 11 will include a ‘refreshed’ user interface — although it doesn’t elaborate on what changes are in store.
Read the full report on Bloomberg’s website. Apple will officially unveil the new iPhone lineup in September, although the OLED iPhone 8 may launch several months later due to production problems.