Apple's rumored "iPhone 8
" with an OLED display and wireless charging will continue to have Touch ID
, but there is a "high chance" it will be on the back of the smartphone, says Hong Kong-based equity research firm CLSA.
An excerpt from a research note distributed this week by CLSA analysts Sebastian Hou and Brian Chen:
iPhone to ditch fingerprint sensor? We don’t think so.
Both Samsung and Apple tried to enable in-display fingerprint sensing on full-screen OLED phones in 2017, but their optical tech seems immature and the major iPhone 8 bottleneck. Some thus speculate the fingerprint sensor will be removed and replaced by 3D sensing. Our latest supply chain checks indicate the iPhone 8 will still have the sensor given security, user-friendliness, and a need for payments infrastructure, but there is a high chance it will be on the back like Samsung's Galaxy S8.
CLSA created a diagram showing Touch ID placed slightly below the Apple logo on the back of the iPhone.
Samsung included a fingerprint sensor on the back of the Galaxy S8
, but some reviews found it to be awkwardly positioned
next to the camera. Apple placing Touch ID lower down could make it easier to reach.
The diagram also shows a vertically-aligned dual-lens camera, a widely rumored
iPhone 8 feature seen in previous renders
. There also appear to be additional modules next to the front-facing camera, likely for rumored 3D sensing
and facial recognition
functionality. Other features shown are identical to the iPhone 7
The diagram suggests the iPhone 8 will be 144mm tall and 71mm wide, making it slightly larger than an iPhone 7 but smaller than an iPhone 7 Plus as expected
. With a depth of 7.69mm, the iPhone 8 would be just a hair thicker than the iPhone 5s, if the dimensions CLSA lists prove to be accurate.
Touch ID on the back of the iPhone 8 appears to be a fallback solution given Apple's struggles
to integrate the fingerprint sensor underneath the smartphone's display effectively enough for mass production. Leaked renders
suggest Apple has explored a rear Touch ID sensor on at least one iPhone 8 prototype.
Other manufacturing challenges may push iPhone 8 production behind schedule by at least one or two months, possibly delaying shipments until October or November. Nevertheless, most analysts still think Apple will announce the iPhone 8 in September alongside the so-called iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus.
While some Apple fans will quip that "this same rumor surfaces every year," oft-reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo
of KGI Securities implied this year's shortage could be much more "severe
" than in previous years.