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, suggesting that integrating the Touch ID sensor into the display will not happen this year.
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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.
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).
Kuo rules out the possibility of Touch ID in the display but the report does not say whether the iPhone 8 will feature a fingerprint scanner at all, in an alternative location. The analyst previously stated that Qualcomm’s integrated fingerprint solution has ‘no clear release’ schedule.
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.
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.