Apple's next iPhone will reportedly feature an OLED screen that stretches from one end of the phone to the other, and it could sport a new design for its dual rear cameras. But we still don't know what Apple has planned for the phone's fingerprint sensor, at least based on renderings that allegedly rely on leaked iPhone 8 schematics.
The renderings, appearing on Chinese site iFanr, show an iPhone with a 5.8-inch screen (well, 5.768 inches, to be precise) in a 5.4 x 2.7-inch frame. For reference, that's roughly the same height as the iPhone 7, though slightly wider. There's very little bezel in this design — about 4 mm, according to the schematic.
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What you won't see in the rendering is a screen that curves around the edges of the phone. Instead, the display is a flat screen that ends at the iPhone's edges. Early iPhone 8 rumors suggested that Apple was angling for a curved display on its next phone, though a number of analysts in recent weeks have suggested a flat screen is in the works.
Things get more interesting on the rear side of the iPhone 8 rendering, which shows the dual cameras on the new phone stacked vertically. That matches another schematic leaked last week that also showed Apple adopting a different layout for its cameras.
We were dubious when we saw that first leaked schematic, as we weren't sure why Apple would switch from the horizontal layout of camera lenses currently featured on the iPhone 7 Plus. But a tweet by Creative Strategies analyst Ben Bajarin spotted by MacRumors suggests that moving the lenses apart would be necessary if the next iPhone is going to offer features like a 3D camera and augmented reality support.
In fact, Apple is rumored to be making a big augmented reality push, and the iPhone 8 is expected to be one of the products that kickstarts that effort. Rumored features for the next iPhone include a 3D camera system that would be capable of overlaying virtual objects onto real world views. The redesigned camera layout on this iPhone schematic, if accurate, could be another sign that Apple is serious about AR features in the iPhone 8.
It's less clear from these latest renderings on iFanr what Apple has planned for the iPhone 8's fingerprint sensor. A report last week from Cowen and Company analyst Timothy Arcuri claimed Apple was running into production issues in trying to move the Touch ID sensor underneath the iPhone's expansive screen. One possibility would be to move the sensor to the back of the phone, just as Samsung did with its Galaxy S8, but the new renderings don't show a sensor anywhere on the back. There is a virtual fingerprint button included on the front of the phone in one drawing, but that's hardly confirmation Apple will put the sensor there.
Add another analyst firm to the growing chorus of iPhone watchers casting doubt on the future of the fingerprint sensor. According to Investors Business Daily, Pacific Crest is telling its clients suggests Apple will drop the fingerprint sensor from the iPhone 8 to avoid delays in shipping the phone this fall. Instead, Pacific Crest says, Apple could use 3D facial recognition as a way to unlock the iPhone 8. It's unclear, though, how that would affect Apple Pay, Apple's mobile payment system that relies on Touch ID to verify payments.