GETTY • APPLE
iPhone 8 customers could face weeks of delays in September, one analyst has revealed
If the rumours about the iPhone 8 are accurate, Apple is looking to pull-out all the stops.
iPhone 8, which will mark the 10th anniversary of the best-selling smartphone range, is expected to ship with a radical new industrial design.
Apple is purportedly looking to ditch the physical Home Button from the front of the phone so that it can extend the display to the very edge of the chassis.
Some sources point to the iPhone 8 boasting a dual-curved display, like the Samsung Galaxy S8, and fast and wireless charging capabilities.
Apple usually refreshes the industrial design of the iPhone every two years.
However, that did not happen with the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, which share an almost identical design to the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6.
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Apple iPhone 8 will debut a brand-new all-glass look, with a curved OLED display and no physical Home Button
The dramatic redesign purportedly scheduled for the iPhone 8 could trigger an unprecedented level of upgrades when the new smartphone launches in September.
Apple will very likely struggle with the demand, according to sources with knowledge of the company's plans.
This is nothing unusual, Apple could not keep up with demand for the iPhone 7 Plus – especially the new Jet Black finish – and shipping dates were delayed for over a month in some cases. Apple analyst Brian White believes customers can expect more of the same this September.
He wrote in a recent research note: "Our contact strongly believes the 5.8in iPhone 8 will be delayed by several weeks due to challenges around the 3D sensing technology, but still in time for the December holidays.
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"This is not the first time that we've heard about a potential delay with a new iPhone; however, our contact was so emphatic about the delay that we are taking this data point more seriously."
IMRAN TAYLOR • BEHANCE
Apple is expected to erase the bezels to fit a larger display into a small footprint
However, this could all still change, Mr White acknowledges.
He adds: "Since it is only April, this situation could improve.
"Essentially, our contact believes customers will be able to pre-order the new 5.8in iPhone 8 along with the new 4.7in and 5.5in iPhones in September; however, the 5.8in iPhone 8 will not be available for delivery until several weeks later."
The 3D sensing technology" blamed for causing the delays is believed to be the new front-facing camera.
By combining the existing selfie shooter with an transmitter and receiver, iPhone 8 is expected to offer smartphone owners iris and facial recognition as an alternative to using a passcode or fingerprint to unlock the handset and authenticate payments.
The news comes as reports that the iPhone 8 would cost more than $1,000 were dismissed by another prominent analyst.
"Apple is about mainstream luxury, so a $1,000 phone seems less likely," the note from analyst firm UBS explained.
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The California-based company is believed to be prototyping devices with glass, aluminium and white ceramic in the chassis.
Other prototypes being passed around the Cupertino headquarters include some iPhone 8 models with an LCD display, while others use an AMOLED panel, others include a Home Button, while some have ditched the button altogether.
In fact, the other features Apple is reportedly certain of are the new five-inch display size, wireless charging and dual camera set-up.
That display size refers to the primary touchscreen area, which will be around 5.15 inches, according to the latest whispers from Cupertino.
Meanwhile, the rest of the touchscreen – which will reportedly bleed to the very edges of the phone – will be reserved for a row of virtual on-screen buttons.
DRIBBLE • ALHASAN HUSNI
Concept artists reveal the new Function Area at the bottom of the five-inch touchscreen
This separate Function Area, housed beneath the main display, will replace the physical Home Button and include the Touch ID fingerprint scanner embedded beneath the glass display.
The Function Area touchscreen will intelligently adapt to whatever is happening on screen, bringing menu items and shortcuts to your fingertips, similar to the Touch Bar included on the latest MacBook Pro models.
According to Ming-Chi Kuo, the overall footprint of the smartphone will be similar to that of the iPhone 6, iPhone 6S and iPhone 7 – which all have a 4.7-inch LED display.
Apple Chief Design Officer Jony Ive is reportedly designing the phone so that it resembles "a single sheet of glass".
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According to a previous research note from UBS, Apple has assembled a team of more than 1,000 engineers working on Augmented Reality (AR) technology ready for the iPhone.
Augmented Reality sees artificial elements – like video footage, CGI animation or GPS data – placed on-top of real-world elements.
Pokémon Go is probably the best known example, which lets players use the camera to search for CGI monsters within the world around them.
Apple CEO Tim Cook is very interested in AR and has spoken at length about the potential for the technology.