As a new iPhone 8 rumor suggests that Apple may have to move the Touch ID sensor to the back of the phone to make room for an edge-to-edge screen, a leaked schematic is now making the rounds that shows off an iPhone which does precisely that.
The schematic, first posted on the Chinese site Weibo and later circulated by SlashLeaks, seems to be have been snapped off the computer screen from a Foxconn factory. The graphic sketches out an iPhone with an edge-to-edge display, consistent with a lot of rumors we've been hearing about Apple's next phone that promise a bezel-eliminating screen.
It's the back of the phone in this schematic that will likely garner the most attention, though. In addition to a dual-lens camera — which is now stacked vertically as opposed to the side-by-side layout that the iPhone 7 Plus uses — there's a fingerprint sensor smack dab in the middle of the phone's backside. This would mimic the approach LG used with the fingerprint sensor on its G6, which also sports the kind of bezel-less display Apple is rumored to be working on.
This schematic has shown up just as rumors have started percolating about Apple's difficulty in finding a place for the Touch ID sensor on the iPhone 8. Should Apple introduce an extended display as expected, the fingerprint sensor would ideally move underneath the display along with a virtual home button. But that's reportedly causing production issues, according to a recent research note from Cowen and Company analyst Timothy Arcuri, which could have Apple looking for alternatives on where to put the Touch ID sensor. One of the possibilities would be to place the sensor on the back of the phone.
For what it's worth, AppleInsider isn't buying the notion that this is a legitimate schematic. It cites that table in the upper righthand corner of the screen, which compares dimensions of the new phone to those of an iPhone 7 Plus. If those numbers are correct, the new phone would be thicker than this year's models, and AppleInsider argues that's out of step with Apple's push to make its devices lighter and thinner with each generation.
In its report on the schematic, MacRumors notes that the added thickness could be a result of Apple adopting a glass-and-steel design for the iPhone 8, which has been rumored for the upcoming phone. Still, that rumor site thinks this may just one of many different prototypes Apple may be considering for its next phone.
Our take? The vertical camera layout makes us think that this design is going to be left on the drawing board. There doesn't seem to be any particular reason for changing the way that the dual lens are arranged on the iPhone 7 Plus, so until we hear a credible report otherwise, we'd have to think that design's sticking around for the iPhone 8.
Still, Apple's going to have to find a place for that Touch ID sensor, especially if the iPhone 8's design is going to be the radical departure from the iPhone's look of the last few years.