There's rising speculation that Apple might come out with its next iPhone later than expected this year due to unresolved design and supply issues. The company, which normally releases new flagship devices in September, is said to be exploring a variety of new features that could push back the launch date.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the first iPhone, which Asymco analyst Horace Dediu earlier this year proclaimed "the most successful product of all time," having sold an expected total of 1.2 bllion units from 2007 through the first half of 2017.
The latest iPhone could arrive one or two months later than usual because of possible constraints on the supply of OLED screens and other materials, according to a report in Bloomberg today. It's also possible that at least one model of the new device will be called the "iPhone Edition," rather than the iPhone 8, the Japanese site Mac Otakara reported last month.
Expect 'Top-of-the-Line' Handset
Like its rival Samsung's Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, which arrive on the market Friday, Apple's next iPhone could feature a curved-edge screen face that's nearly bezel free, various sources have reported. iPhone fans might also have to drop more cash than usual for Apple's newest phone, which is rumored to be priced in the $1,000 range.
Three new iPhone models could appear in Apple's lineup this fall, including "a new top-of-the-line handset with an overhauled look," according to Bloomberg. The article also noted that Apple is likely feeling added pressure to succeed with the new iPhone design in light of previous few models that didn't feature any big changes. The well-received Samsung Galaxy S8s could also up the ante for Apple, according to the article.
Two of the new iPhones planned for launch later this year will likely be updates of 2016's iPhone 7 (pictured above): an iPhone 7s and an iPhone 7s Plus, BGR reported today. BGR added that might be the reason Apple is considering a name other than "iPhone 8" for the third device, as that could make the iPhone 7s handsets appear out of date from the moment they arrive.
Could New iPhone Lose Touch ID?
Ongoing design issues surrounding the new iPhones are one reason Apple might be delaying this fall's launch. Like the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus hitting the market this week, Apple's update could relocate the iPhone's fingerprint sensor from the front screen to the back.
It's also possible the new iPhone could drop the Touch ID sensor altogether, according to a report yesterday by MacRumors. The publication cited comments made in a research note by Pacific Crest Securities Analyst Andy Hargreaves.
"We believe Apple continues to work on solving its optical fingerprint issues," Hargreaves stated. "If it's able to solve the problems in the next month or so, it would likely place volume orders at that point. This would likely lead to a delay of the OLED iPhone launch, but we would not expect it to meaningfully affect volume for the cycle. If it's not able to fix the problems in that time frame, Apple may be forced to eliminate fingerprint sensing from the OLED iPhone altogether."
Citing unnamed "people familiar with the matter," Bloomberg today noted that Apple has ordered around 100 million OLED display screens for its new iPhones from Samsung because "other suppliers won't be ready to supply mass quantities until later."