The lack of bezels would mean that Apple is willing to finally bid adieu to the iconic home button, a feature which has hardly changed in all these years ever since the first iPhone was released, except that it now has a fingerprint sensor embedded within and isn't clickable in the latest iPhones. Like what we had recently heard about the Galaxy S8 and S8 Edge, the home button is expected to be embedded inside the upcoming iPhones' display screens. The front FaceTime camera may also find itself behind the glass screen but analysts believe the design of the upcoming iPhones are yet to be finalised.
iPhone 8 display will be an OLED one, Sharp CEO lets slip
Aside from the bezel-free display, the upcoming iPhones will, for the first time since the iPhone 4S, feature glass casing both on the front and back. "Apple is expected to redesign the iPhone, including giving it a glass chassis, in 2017 to boost weakening demand and to see off stiff competition from rivals, including South Korea's Samsung Electronics and China's Huawei Technology, whose phones use Android platforms," said a report from Nikkei. "Market watchers suggested that Apple's new iPhones would adopt glass casings with metal frames and advanced organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels, a design Samsung already uses for its premium handsets. This will give iPhones developed in 2017 a sleeker look and a brighter, more energy-efficient display," the report added.
Not too long ago, Tai Jeng-wu, the CEO of Sharp which has been acquired by contract manufacturer Foxconn, revealed that Foxconn will be manufacturing OLED displays for the iPhone 8 and are building a new OLED manufacturing facility in Japan for this purpose. He also said that Foxconn may build a similar manufacturing facility in the United States too if Apple asked them to. "The iPhone has been evolving and now it is switching from LTPS [low-temperature poly-silicon] to OLED panels. We don't know whether Apple's OLED iPhones will be a hit, but if Apple doesn't walk down this path and transform itself, there will be no innovation. It is a crisis but it is also an opportunity," he said.
Apple may launch an all-glass iPhone next year
Aside from so many changes in its form factor, the iPhone 8 is also expected to land several new internal features to compete effectively with next-generation smartphones. A recent report by Nikkei suggests that Foxconn Technology Group has also won a deal to produce wireless charging modules for the iPhone 8. The report quoted a source who said that the modules will only find their way to new iPhones if Foxconn are able to 'boost the yield rate to a satisfactory level later on.'
Aside from introducing wireless charging, Apple is also expected to introduce new battery technologies which may significantly enhance battery life in future iPhones and iPads. Back in 2014, the Daily Mail reported that Intelligent Energy, a UK-based research firm, was working with Apple to develop new fuel cell technologies to power future iPads and MacBooks. Intelligent Energy also partnered with an “international electronics company” to purchase patents related to a practical application of fuel cell. As per Digital Trends, that partner company was Apple.