The Apple iPhone 8 may have OLED screens and wireless charging, if the latest round of speculations are to be believed. Two reports by the Nikkei Asian Review point to the developments. While one report quoted Sharp president Tai Jeng-Wu, who stated that the future iPhone will sport an OLED screen, another report added that Foxconn is presently conducting tests for wireless charging for the phone.
Speaking at an event at Tatung University, Jeng-Wu, said, "The iPhone has been evolving and now it is switching from LTPS (low-temperature poly-silicon) to OLED panels." Sharp, a Japanese electronics manufacturer, supplies smartphone panels to Apple and most other smartphone makers.
"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 added.
Tai did not disclose when the iPhone with OLED screens would hit the market, but said, "We are now building a new [OLED] facility in Japan. We can make [OLED panels] in the U.S. too," he said. "If our key customer demands us to manufacture in the U.S., is it possible for us not to do so?"
Tai Jeng-Wu also holds a position as an executive at the Hon Hai Precision Industry, Sharp's parent company, which is better known as Foxconn Technology Group. Hon Hai Industry is also the principal assembler for Apple's iPhone. He assumed the position of President and Chief Executive of Sharp in August 2016, after Hon Hai purchased Sharp.
2017 will be the tenth year since Apple launched the iPhone. It is speculated that the company will observe the milestone with significant upgrades and a new model, billed as the iPhone 8.
The Nikkei Asian Review added that Apple has planned three iPhone models for the gadget's 10th anniversary in 2017. Of the three devices, a premium 5.5-inch handset will sport a curved OLED screen, while the others will continue with LTPS (Low Temperature Poly Silicon) panels. The iPhone 8 will also have an edge to edge bezel-less display. It is expected that the device will not have the Home Button, instead Touch ID will be incorporated within the glass. It is also tipped to ditch the metal casing and instead sport an all-glass casing.
A separate report by the publication stated that Foxconn is building wireless charging modules for Apples. The modules will be incorporated into Apple's handsets, though it is unclear if all the iPhone handsets for 2017 will have that. The source stated, "But whether the feature can eventually make it into Apple's updated devices will depend on whether Foxconn can boost the yield rate to a satisfactory level later on."
Yield rate is defined as the number of units in a production batch of components that perform satisfactorily. If the yield rate is low, the production of the components is deemed to be unprofitable and the component stands the chance of being left out from the final product.
Apple has of late shown an interest in wireless technology, the tech giant had earlier this year launched the Apple Airpods, which are wireless earphones. In 2013 the company had revealed details about a wireless charging system that would harness near-filed magnetic resonance to charge the devices.
In 2016, Apple reported its first annual revenue decline since 2001 which has been attributed to a saturated market and sluggish demand for its latest offering the Apple iPhone 7 series. The introduction of wireless charging can be seen as part of the company's efforts to overhaul the iPhone design and boost sales during the 10th anniversary of its iconic product.