Bloomberg On Apple's 2017 iPhone Lineup

19 April 2017

Bloomberg:

Company engineers in the past have also experimented with integrating cameras into screens, another person said.

All the new iPhones will run iOS 11, a mobile operating system that will include a refreshed user-interface and will be announced in June at the company’s annual conference for developers, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Putting fingerprint sensors and cameras under the display appears to be possible with current technology. The problem is doing it at scale. Apple needs components that are able to be produced in high yields, so it can push out tens of millions of iPhones every month and meet consumer demand.

Earlier in the article, Bloomberg says that Apple has tested screen-integrated fingerprint sensors in some iPhone 8 prototypes. I sure hope it can deliver on that — it would maximise the bezel-less nature of the front face and differentiate it from the Android competition. Integrating the FaceTime camera below the display feels further away and an obvious point of future improvement.

The industry rumour was that Samsung wanted to put a fingerprint sensor in the screen for the Galaxy S8 but couldn’t workaround manufacturing bottlenecks, and they resorted to putting a standard scanner on the back of the phone. I hope what Samsung couldn’t achieve for the spring, Apple can pull off several months later in the fall. Touch ID on the back is just janky.

Regarding iOS 11 having a “refreshed” design, who knows what that means. Without specific details, you could argue every version of iOS has seen a visual refresh in one way or another. It’s not out of the question to expect a more significant design update this year though; some accommodations for bezel-less iOS devices (and various affordances for more productive iPad ‘pro user’ features) seems inevitable.