With consumers getting their hands on Samsung's newly designed Galaxy S8, all eyes are now on Apple. To counter the appealing Galaxy S8 and its projected success over time, the iPhone-maker will have to offer an unparalleled combination of innovation and aesthetics with its next-generation flagship smartphone, dubbed the iPhone 8.
One of the most speculated features of the redesigned iPhone 8 is a new OLED panel, which is said to be supplied by Samsung. However, these new display panels are among the few hardware upgrades in the iPhone 8 that, some analysts believe, could delay the device's launch, limiting total shipments of Apple smartphones for 2017.
Brushing off reports that iPhone 8's mass production could be pushed back to October or November, a new report from South Korea said that the first ever OLED iPhone won't be delayed due to supply shortage as Samsung is expected to start shipping the OLED panels in June as planned.
Samsung has also reportedly planned to place orders for key components, including flexible printed circuit board (FPCB) -- which is essential for the connection between a display panel and the processing chip -- within a month. Therefore, if everything falls according to plans, the assembly of OLED panels for the iPhone 8 will start in May, followed by their shipment in early June.
The report also cited industry sources saying that concerns over sophisticated panel production might have exaggerated to create rumours of a delayed launch of the iPhone 8.
On Monday, KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in a note to investors that Apple would launch the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus models as per the schedule, but production issues would postpone the launch of the iPhone 8. In addition to the OLED panels, Kuo also blamed Apple's custom-designed A11 10-nanometer SoC, the new 3D Touch module and 3D sensing cameras for the potential delayed launch of the next-gen iPhone.
Meanwhile, analysts at UBS said that assembly service of the OLED iPhone 8 has been planned for a ramp up in October. According to them, it's a planned move by Apple as it needs more time to finalise many innovative new designs.
The upcoming iPhone 8 is speculated to feature a number of cutting-edge components to take on the revamped Galaxy S8 and other popular rivals. There were also reports suggesting that Apple could incorporate a bezel-free design and an on-screen fingerprint scanner, something that is lacking on the Galaxy S8.
Jang Hyun-jun, an analyst at UBI Research, the screen on the iPhone 8 could cover its entire front, compared to the Galaxy S8's display area ration at 83.6 percent.
In February, Apple was granted a patent that describes a fingerprint scanner built right into the iPhone screen. However, it should be noted that the actual adoption of the component depends on the capability of the display maker's technology to integrate the sensor into the panel.
Since Samsung itself decided to relocate the fingerprint scanner from the home button to the back of the Galaxy S8 due to such technical difficulties, an on-screen fingerprint sensor on the iPhone 8 seems unlikely if the device embraces a bezel-less form factor.