Apple is famously secretive about upcoming products, almost never sharing info before their official launch.
But thanks to two Apple suppliers, we may have been told two key features in the upcoming iPhone 8: Wireless charging, and a 3D depth-sensing selfie camera that lets you unlock your phone with your face.
First, wireless charging. On Wednesday, Apple supplier Wistron mentioned at the company’s annual shareholders meeting that the next phone from Apple will feature wireless charging, as an executive discussed the complexities of assembling the device.
“Assembly process for the previous generations of [iPhones] have not changed much, though new features like waterproof and wireless charging now require some different testing, and waterproof function will alter the assembly process a bit,” the exec said, according to a report in Nikkei Asian Review. (The iPhone 7 is already water-resistant, with a rating of iP67. It’s not clear if this will change.)
There have already been reports that this might be the case, and in February 2017 Apple joined industry body the Wireless Power Consortium. And as The Verge notes, there have also been alleged leaked schematics that show what could be a wireless charging antenna.
— OnLeaks (@OnLeaks) April 26, 2017
Next: a depth-sensing selfie camera.
Nikkei Asian Review is also reporting that Apple supplier Largan Precision has said its 3D-sensing lenses will “ready to ship in the second half of this year.” The company doesn’t identify who it has sold the tech to — but it is believed to be Apple.
Traditional front-facing cameras that let you unlock your phone with your face aren’t always particularly secure. This is the case with the Samsung Galaxy S8 —which can be tricked with a photo of a face. In contrast, the 3D-sensing camera will map the user’s face with the help of infrared lasers, adding an extra level of security.
It also enables iris recognition, another potential verification method.
Again, this is something we’ve heard rumoured before. In February, reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reported that the iPhone 8 would include this feature. But with these latest statements from suppliers, we’re getting a clearer and clearer idea of what will be in the next iPhone.
The iPhone 8 will be the tenth anniversary device from Apple, and has been eagerly awaited.
It is rumoured to feature an almost edge-to-edge screen, meaning Apple can pack a much larger screen onto a device about the same size as the current 4.7-inch iPhone 7. Apple may also ditch the physical home button and build the fingerprint scanner directly into the screen, which is curved at the edges.
But it is also believed to be delayed due to technical challenges in manufacturing it, meaning while it may be announced in September alongside the expected iPhone 7s and 7s Plus, it might not go on sale until months later. And even then, there could be major shortages.
Just don’t expect Apple to confirm or deny any of this before the official launch.