Without mentioning sources, DigiTimes reported Wednesday that the widely expected shift from LCD to OLED screens will necessitate a thin-film solution for iPhone 8’s 3D Touch module instead of the older glass solution adopted for 3D Touch on the iPhone 6s/7 series. Suppliers behind the new 3D Touch modules are dropping big bucks on advanced factories to retain the precision that Apple demands.
Apple suppliers and touch panel makers General Interface Solution and TPK Holding have reportedly allocated millions of dollars to expand capacity to produce next-generation 3D Touch panels for 2017 iPhones, with the former spending about $163 million, and the latter allocating a budget of $152 million towards fab facilities.
Because the manufacturing process for the film-based pressure-sensing 3D Touch module is more complicated, cost will rise from about $9 for the existing glass-based 3D Touch sensor to more than $15 for its thin film-based counterpart.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo previously estimated that the production cost of iPhone 8’s 3D Touch solution may increase by up to $5 per unit. The new 3D Touch module should enhance user experience with such perks as increased sensitivity and a wider range of pressure levels, said the analyst.
Kuo also expects all three 2017 iPhones to feature wireless charging technology.
A recent report said iPhone 8 might cost upwards of $1,000 due to new technologies such as a curved OLED screen, wireless charging, an advanced augmented reality camera system with facial recognition and 3D sensing and more.
Major Apple analysts, supply chain sources and various publications predicted that iPhone 8 may not enter volume production before September while the iterative LCD-based iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus devices are expected to be mass-produced starting in July, like prior iPhone generations.
If true, Apple will find itself in a unique situation where iPhone 8 could be pre-announced in September before its arrival later in the year.
As per Mac Otakara, iPhone 8 won’t launch until well after a September announcement.