Typically, you wouldn’t classify an apple as a drupe — a fleshy fruit with a stone inside of it — but there’s been this one pit that has been growing inside of the Apple on Infinite Loop in Cupertino, California. Multiple pits, actually, and all of them dragging down prospects of how the company’s next flagship iPhone would turn out to consumers.
This perceived downward droop has been led by doubts on how Touch ID would be implemented — the ultimate design would be to implement an optical sensor under the display, replacing a capacitive sensor on the bottom of the device’s front with more display. For a long moment, part-maker AuthenTec seemed to be having a tough go of production before we were told that everything was alright and, in the next breath, that everything wasn’t. An inhale of desperation signaled that Apple would compromise the integrity of its mechanical design in order to accommodate a fingerprint sensor. This on-and-off brouhaha behind the scenes seems to have led some to believe that a facial recognition mechanism, seen by tech critics as the path forward in biometric authentication, would come to fully replace it at this relatively premature stage.
Whatever the case may be for this little digit pad, final designs should have been locked down sooner than today. And by no means do we imply that they have been locked down today.
As it stands, the iPhone 8, which will presumably be introduced alongside more conservative upgrades in the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus this September, is seen by analysts to launch late in the holiday quarter. We can draw back to a point in this timeline where the notion of this flashy “iPhone X” — as some have called it — not getting launched this year was a plausibility, whether or not it was actually the case. You see, we have been warned before of this underground intelligence business being an uneven field of growth — developments from January may only come into light months later. But it is the above cascade that has helped lead a narrative of panic at Apple’s campus.
Today, a source to Fast Company has affirmed that narrative, telling the publication’s Mark Sullivan that the month of June gave project staff nothing but “a sense of panic in the air” to inhale. Even at this time, there could be enough of a time crunch that could force major features on the iPhone 8 to not launch with the phone.
There are two specific software pain points: the 3D sensor that has reportedly been purposed for facial scanning and; the presumed shoe-in of what’s believed to be Qi-standard wireless charging. Rather than the components themselves, it’s the engineers that have not been able to properly suit up software for the features. The problems are big enough to cause this fear of not making deadline. Speculatively, the source bets that Touch ID will ultimately be executed with an under-display setup, though it admitted that other chips are on the table.
One firmer hardware worry has been the limited production capacity of OLED displays. Even as main supplier Samsung Display, the world’s leading producer of mobile OLED displays, is said to have 95 percent market share, its dedicated production lines will struggle to cope with demand of a phone that’s forecast to rack up to 45 million orders. Pocketnow‘s best guess is that the supplier has only been able to pump up monthly output to the low six-digits. Digitimes recently reported that only up to 4 million panels will be available from the Korean company by September.
Keep in mind that it was Fast Company‘s Sullivan that first relayed the evident likelihood of this iPhone to cost over $1,000 to consumers before market consensus started meeting and even creeping up above that figure. While we can’t vouch for all of this information being truthful, we do know that whatever panic is out in the hemisphere right now has a new echo chamber.