There have been a few reports over the last couple of months that the iPhone 8 will be significantly more expensive than the current iPhone lineup, with one source citing $1000 starting price points. Ostensibly, Apple’s new flagship iPhone will include many advanced features to justify that higher pricing tier; bezel-less display, integrated fingerprint sensor, and wireless charging to name a few.
Today, Digitimes is reporting that the 3D Touch module in the OLED iPhone will cost $15, an increase of 60% over existing iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models. This supports the idea that the iPhone 8 will come at a premium, as Apple will have to increase prices to retain its margins …
Specifically, Digitimes says that the OLED iPhone will use a thin film touch sensor overlaid onto an AMOLED display supplied by TPK Holdings. The report says the manufacturer will ‘begin’ to supply in the fourth quarter, again alluding to the fact that the iPhone 8 may launch later than the typical September release date for new iPhones.
The report goes on to state that the AMOLED panel will need a new type of 3D Touch sensor; this is something KGI has said before. The new 3D Touch modules will require a more ‘complicated manufacturing process’ which ultimately results in the components costing more. Digitimes says the 3D Touch modules in the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus cost $9 to make; the cost for the 3D Touch modules in iPhone 8 will allegedly rise to $15.
Although its only an increase of $6, this is a substantial relative cost increase of 60%. Assuming other components in this iPhone are similarly intricate and specialized, it would add up to a much higher total build of materials for Apple. As Apple is unlikely to lowers its per-device margins, the end result is the iPhone 8 must cost more for consumers to buy. With the current iPhone 7 Plus 256 GB already retailing at $979, a $1000+ iPhone 8 does not sound so unreasonable with this context in mind.
In summary of the consensus rumors, Apple is expected to announce three new iPhones later this year. Two will be iterative updates to the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, with the same external body, and the other will be the fabled radical ‘new’ iPhone design. This latter device is being dubbed the iPhone 8 although naming is never final, and has been reported to include a brand-new all-glass chassis, bezel-less OLED 5.8 inch screen, a 3D front camera, wireless charging, upgraded battery, integrated fingerprint sensor, virtual Home Button and much more.
Whilst the ‘7s’ devices appear to be on track for September, the most-anticipated OLED iPhone may not be available to buy until months later. This is apparently because the supply chain is not ready to produce all the new technology required for the normal iPhone schedule.