KGI’s Ming-Chi Kuo has sent out a new report with his top predictions for the 2017 iPhone lineup: two iterative updates to the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, as well as the all-new OLED iPhone 8. The analyst believes that the iPhone 8 will feature the highest screen-to-body ratio of any phone on the market, thanks to the addition of the ‘notch’ at the top of the screen and a virtual home button.
However, KGI dampens spirits by stating that the virtual home button will not support fingerprint recognition, and that the OLED iPhone will not include a Touch ID sensor of any kind …
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The KGI report is a summary of many recent rumors as well as some new tidbits. KGI appears to confirm the dummy hardware leaks of the almost bezel-less iPhone 8 with minimal surround on all four sides except from a lip at the top to incorporate the front cameras and earpiece. KGI calls this the ‘notch’.
The OLED iPhone will have a 5.8-inch display (KGI reiterates claims that the usable screen area will be around 5.2-inches after accounting for the ‘function area’). As reported before, the smaller bezels will mean the overall phone is of a similar size to the current 4.7-inch iPhone 7.
The two LCD phones will have standard 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch screens, with the front face resembling the current iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Whereas the iPhone 8 chassis will be made of stainless steel and glass, it is believed the ‘iPhone 7s’ devices will have glass backs and an aluminium frame.
All three phones will include support for wireless charging (‘WPC standard’) but the actual charging ‘pad’ (for lack of a better word) will be an additional purchase.
KGI’s exact wording around the fingerprint sensor situation is a bit ambiguous. The analyst indicates that the virtual Home Button — drawn on the OLED screen — will not support a fingerprint sensor (rebutting recent reports from the supply chain) under the display panel.
In fact, Kuo goes further and say that there will be no fingerprint recognition capability on the iPhone 8 of any kind; it seems like Apple is removing Touch ID entirely in favour of facial recognition.
We predict the OLED model won’t support fingerprint recognition, reasons being: (1) the full-screen design doesn’t work with existing capacitive fingerprint recognition, and (2) the scan-through ability of the under-display fingerprint solution still has technical challenges
Kuo said that the under-display fingerprint scanner faced many technical issues which prevented Apple from committing to the technology. We have seen speculation that Apple might put the Touch ID on the rear or in the power button, but today’s KGI report is pretty definitive in their view that the iPhone 8 will not include a fingerprint sensor anywhere on the phone.
The front camera system on the iPhone 8 will support 3D depth sensing, enabling facial recognition authentication and ‘improved’ selfies. Internally, the OLED iPhone and the 5.5-inch iPhone ‘7s Plus’ will include 3 GB RAM whilst the new 4.7-inch phone will continue to pack 2 GB RAM.
As another enhancement for the OLED iPhone, Apple will apparently improve the consistency of the speaker and the receiver to create more balanced stereo sounds. KGI also thinks that the OLED iPhone 8 will be offered in fewer colors than the normal iPhone lineup to maintain a ’boutique’ branding.
KGI suggests that all three new iPhones will come in 64 GB and 256 GB storage options, corroborating other claims, and all three will rely on Lightning for power although there will be an embedded USB-C power deliver circuit for faster charging speeds. This is something KGI first reported in March. Apple will continue to ship a USB-A to Lightning cable in the box, rather than jump to a USB-C adapter solution.
In terms of availability, KGI believes that Apple will announce all three new iPhone models at a September event but the all-new-design OLED iPhone may launch later than the iterative LCD phones. Kuo expects supply for the iPhone 8 to be constrained well into 2018.