After three straight years with the same iPhone design, Apple is expected to finally shake things up a bit in 2017. In fact, the company may be shaking things up more than usual. In years past, “S” updates feature (almost) the exact same design as their predecessors. This year, however, the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus are rumored to switch to a new design that features a glass back to facilitate wireless charging.
Then, of course, we have the iPhone 8, which is expected to be a bold reimagining of Apple’s iPhone design. Reports suggest that we can expect a sleek new “full-screen” design that does away with the home button and shrinks the bezels all the way around the new OLED display. But a new leak on Wednesday shows a troubling design detail that would be an absolute travesty if the leak is genuine.
We published our Galaxy S8 review on Tuesday morning, and we absolutely adore Samsung’s new smartphone design. It’s simply stunning, there’s no doubt about it. The build quality of the phone is outstanding, the performance is impressive, and the design is the best the world has ever seen. But the design isn’t perfect, and there’s one issue that really annoyed us.
The back of a smartphone is the worst possible place for a fingerprint scanner, and we explained why in our review. In a nutshell, it’s simply not natural.
If you keep your phone in your pocket, your thumb is naturally positioned where the home button is as you slide your handset out of your pocket. Even if you typically carry your phone elsewhere, you’re always looking at the front of the device when you pick it up, so the fingerprint scanner should be on the front. If it’s on the back, you’re left feeling around the phone in an attempt to unlock it. Samsung compounded matters by placing the scanner off-center and far too high up the back of the phone, but anywhere on the back is bad news.
That brings us to today’s new leak…
The above schematic was posted on Twitter on Wednesday by Sonny Dickson. Dickson has a mixed track record and he neglects to link the source that first posted the image, but the schematics appear to be taken from a Foxconn factory where the new iPhone 8 will be produced. If they’re the real deal, we’re not happy at all.
Apple has been working for years on technology that would allow the company to embed its Touch ID fingerprint scanner beneath the display of an iPhone. The iPhone 8 has been rumored to be the first model that will actually feature the next-gen sensor. But more recent rumors have suggested that Apple is running into manufacturing issues that would prevent it from coming anywhere close to meeting demand if it does indeed opt for an embedded Touch ID sensor.
Some reports have said that Apple is sticking with its guns, and it will embed the sensor in the screen. As a result, the iPhone 8 might not launch until sometime in October or even November. Other reports have claimed that Apple is scrapping the idea though, and it will instead move its fingerprint reader to the back of the iPhone 8. This would be awful, if true, and the schematic above pours more fuel on that fire – an opening for a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner can clearly be seen beneath the Apple logo.
It’s quite possible that this new schematic is fake, or that this is one of several designs Apple is toying with. Sadly, it’s also possible that this is the real deal, and that Apple plans to take a huge step backward with the iPhone 8 because it doesn’t want to wait another year before ditching the physical home button and shrinking those massive bezels.