Purported technical measurements for iPhone 8 that surfaced Monday on iFanr, a site without an established track record, would have us believe that Apple will ship a handset come this fall with a physical slit at the top of its OLED screen for an embedded earpiece and possibly other integrated components, like a 3D camera and sensors.

Not only should the top speaker of iPhone 8 be cut through the glass cover, but the OLED panel itself. Many bloggers and outlets that reported on the story have noted that this may not even be possible.

As you can see for yourself, the technical illustration suggests that the Cupertino company might hide all of the components that are currently located on the handset’s top and bottom chin right underneath the display.

That, in turn, could enable Apple’s engineers to create a full-front or a nearly full-front display for iPhone 8. Based on these drawings, other components could be hidden right underneath the OLED screen, including:

  • Home button
  • Touch ID
  • Next-generation FaceTime 3D camera
  • Ambient light sensors
  • Proximity sensor
  • Laser rangefinder
  • Infrared transmitter and receiver
  • Top speaker

Other things we can glean from the diagram:

  • Bezels on all four sides measure just 4 millimeters
  • 2.5D curved glass at the edges
  • The OLED screen stretches 5.768 inches diagonally
  • Symmetric antenna lines in each corner
  • No rear Touch ID (contrary to last week’s report)
  • Vertically aligned dual-camera system out the back
  • True Tone flash sits between the two rear cameras
  • Chassis is 137.54 mm tall and 67.54 mm wide

Curiously, iPhone 8’s thickness is not shown. Bear in mind that purported dimensions shown on these illustrations don’t match prior schematics. While the physical slit within the OLED screen might permit the integrated earpiece to function properly, it’s unclear if putting a camera and other components behind the display is technically possible.

Now, Apple’s filed a number of patents over the past few years and some of them do suggest that the company has been looking into integrating the front sensors and the Touch ID fingerprint reader behind the display assembly. A good example is a particularly exciting patent for “Electronic devices having displays with openings,” which simply sounds too good to be true.

In it, Apple proposes poking a series of microscopic thru-holes between the individual pixels of an OLED panel to let the underlying sensors gather image and light data, radio waves and acoustic signals.

Apple’s patent promises sub-screen speakers, cameras, sensors and more.

Needless to say, the Cupertino company patents a lot of technologies but only a fraction of its inventions ever make it into actual products. That said, I simply cannot get my head around the idea of an iPhone with a hole in the display. I mean, are you seriously trying to tell me that having missing pixels at the top is a good user experience?

I’m not even sure how that might work in real life.

Even Galaxy S8’s Infinity Display doesn’t cover the entire front face of the device. If Samsung could integrate the earpiece along with the camera and the sensors underneath the display, I’m pretty sure they would have done just that. A report this morning stated Apple has been struggling to integrate an optical fingerprint reader into iPhone 8’s display so there’s that.

Could Apple out-design Samsung with iPhone 8, do you think?

Source: iFanr

  • Why not use a bone conduction earpiece? Having a hole on a display doesn’t seem good in an UX/UI standpoint, it’ll obstruct top content.

    • smtp25

      What if that top area was only for status bar .. if you watched a full screen movie for example, that area could just stay black like the Letterboxing does today.

      • Iskren Donev

        I’m also on the same page. The earpiece will be placed on the status bar, so the only apps that will have to make a consideration will be fullscreen apps.

        The thing that I will have the most trouble with using this design will be the fact that the clock will no longer be centered in the status bar.

  • 5723alex .

    If the body size of the iPhone 8 will be smaller than the iPhone 7+ I am not interested, no matter what the screen size will be.

    • Rowan09

      I want the same size as the + all screen and I would be fine with it.

    • ic0dex

      The 7 Plus is just to wide. I got a chance to use the Note 7 for about a month, I wish they make the new iPhone in that same size with more display.

  • James Coulee

    A 4mm bezel is the same as on the iPhone 4: I find it a bit difficult to believe…

    On the other hand, Starck’s cellphone design for Xiaomi was able to substitute the earpiece slit with a piezoelectric ceramic driver that sits behind the display: If it’s possible, I don’t see why apple wouldn’t pursue that avenue.

  • James Coulee

    Just to add a different point about the “hole in the display”: it would for sure coincide with the status bar where we already have a bunch of pixels that are pretty much “dead”. Half of it doesn’t display anything.

    • smtp25

      +1 .. read your comment just as I was typing the same thing above to someone else

  • Iskren Donev

    Apple can definitely out-design Samsung with the iPhone Edition. The real question is: will the most advanced (and coolest) iPhone Edition prototype be easy enough to manufacture? The last thing Apple needs is to announce a wicked cool gadget and then tell customers “It might be a couple of months before you can get one”.

  • Martynet

    I think the steel apple watch can give us good idea of how the iPhone Edition might look like.