KGI: iPhone 8 won’t support fingerprint recognition

Revered Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities is back with the latest round of predictions conquering Apple’s upcoming iPhones, obtained by StreetInsider.

The biggest takeaway from his latest note to clients: iPhone 8 will adopt a full-screen design with a 5.8-inch OLED screen covering nearly the entire front face of the phone. It should have “the highest screen-to-body ratio of any smartphone currently available worldwide”.

The device will feature a virtual Home button. Kuo doesn’t think the virtual button will support Touch ID fingerprint recognition although he didn’t unequivocally state that the OLED-based handset won’t have an integrated in-screen fingerprint sensor.

An excerpt from his note:

We predict the OLED model won’t support fingerprint recognition, reasons being:

(1) the full-screen design doesn’t work with existing capacitive fingerprint recognition

(2) the scan-through ability of the under-display fingerprint solution still has technical challenges, including: (i) requirement for a more complex panel pixel design; (ii) disappointing scan-through of OLED panel despite it being thinner than LCD panel; and (iii) weakened scan-through performance due to overlayered panel module.

As the new OLED iPhone won’t support under-display fingerprint recognition, we now do not expect production ramp-up will be delayed again (we previously projected the ramp-up would be postponed to late October or later).

The analyst reiterated that the OLED-based device will use 3D sensors for advanced facial recognition, improved selfie quality, 3D mapping and other features.

“To maintain its boutique image, we think the OLED version will offer fewer options for casing colors than LCD iPhone models,” reads Kuo’s note.

As for the 4.7-inch iPhone 7s and the 5.5-inch iPhone 7s Plus updates, Kuo maintains that these models will continue to use LCD display technology and retain the front form factor design similar to the current iPhone 7 series.

The OLED-based iPhone 8 and the 5.5-inch iPhone 7s Plus will have 3GB of RAM due to dual-camera requirements, while the 4.7-inch iPhone 7s is expected to only use 2GB RAM because it’s expected to have a single camera.

All three new models should come with 64GB and 256GB storage options and have a Lightning port with a built-in USB-C Power Delivery chip for fast charging. The output power of the devices’ receiver and speaker will be more consistent than before in order to “create better stereo effects,” the analyst predicted.

“For optimized promotional effect, we think Apple may unveil the three models simultaneously in September, though the launch date of the OLED version may trail that of LCD models, and supply tightness may not improve before the first quarter of 2018,” reads the note.

KGI forecast shipments of the three new iPhone models of 80-85 million units during Apple’s fiscal year 2017, with an equal split between OLED-based iPhone and the LCD-based iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus models.

iPhone 8 Full Vision Display concept courtesy of iFanr.