More evidence points to late 2017 launch for iPhone 8

Evidence continues to mount suggesting that Apple’s AMOLED-based iPhone 8 flagship aka “iPhone Edition” may in fact launch later in the fourth quarter of 2017, unlike the refreshed LCD-based iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus that should hit store shelves shortly following an announcement in September.

Citing industry sources, DigiTimes reported Tuesday that touch panel maker TPK Holding won’t begin churning out next-generation 3D Touch sensors for use in iPhone 8 before the fourth quarter of 2017.

It’s been noted before that a shift to the superior active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) display technology would necessitate a thin-film solution for iPhone 8’s 3D Touch module, with production cost estimated to rise from about $9 for the existing glass-based 3D Touch sensor to more than $15 for its thin film counterpart.

As AMOLEDs will require an add-on touch module, iPhone 8’s redesigned 3D Touch will be pricier to build than before. TPK will become a second provider next to Nissha Printing, initially supplying 10-20 percent of demand for thin-film touch sensors with Nissha Printing estimated to provide 80-90 percent.

Supplier General Interface Solution may land more orders for 3D Touch modules, too.

KGI Securities’ Ming-Chi Kuo estimated production cost of iPhone 8’s reengineered 3D Touch solution may increase by up to $5 per unit. The new sensor should improve sensitivity and support a wider range of pressure levels, said Kuo.

Both TPK Holding and General Interface Solutions are dropping big bucks on next-generation factories to retain the precision that Apple demands, with the former spending about $152 million and the latter $163 million.

iPhone 8 concept with Dark Mode + iOS 11 courtesy of UI designer Vianney le Masne.

Source: DigiTimes