iPhone 8 Wireless Charging Being Tested by Foxconn, Apple Partner

iPhone 8 - curved OLED, wireless charging, glass sandwich, waterproof

The iPhone 8 that is expected to launch on Apple iPhone’s tenth anniversary in 2017 could come with wireless charging capability.

Foxconn Technology Group, a Taiwanese multinational electronics corporation and the world’s largest contracts electronics manufacturer, has been a long-time partner for Apple, Inc. The company has recently started testing wireless charging capability for the upcoming iPhone 8, according to a source that was contacted by Japanese media house, The Nikkei.

To be clear, this is no indication that the iPhone 8 will, in fact, have wireless charging. Since it’s still in the testing phase, it all depends on the “yield rate”; basically, that means the percentage of units in a batch that work at a ‘satisfactory’ level. If the yield rate is too low that means it will be unprofitable to manufacture them on a large scale.

If successful, that could mean that a much-awaiting feature will finally be available on iPhone 8 next year.

Other iPhone 8 features include an all-glass design with sensors, cameras and much of the ‘above the surface’ features going under the glass. This is a major achievement in itself because it will allow for a much higher degree of waterproofing than is currently possible.

When the iPhone 7 came out this year, it was assumed that one of the reasons for removing the 3.5 mm audio jack was so that it could have better waterproofing qualities. If that’s true then we’ve probably seen the last of the 3.5 mm audio jack on all future iPhones.

Earlier this year Apple was granted a patent for underwater photo editing, which we covered in a previous article. Though we didn’t see that functionality on iPhone 7, which was launched after that article was published, we definitely could see it on the iPhone 8 now that rumor is getting closer to reality about a completely waterproof model.

We also know that it’s not likely that there will be a ceramic body or frame on the iPhone 8, and we detailed why that wasn’t possible on a large scale in an earlier discussion as well. However, like with the Apple Watch ceramic version, Apple may put out a special “Anniversary Edition iPhone” or something similar that has ceramic components. And you can bet it’ll be far more expensive than any other iPhone on the market.

A few days ago, The Nikkei reported that there could be three versions of iPhone 8. In addition to the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhone, there may also be a 5-inch version, says the report.

Yet another report from The Nikkei, as carried by 9to5Mac, shows that the largest of the iPhone 8 models for next year will have an OLED display made by Sharp, which Foxconn agreed to acquire in August 2016. That bit of news was confirmed by none other than Sharp’s newly appointed CEO, Tai Jeng-wu, who recently said:

“The iPhone has been evolving and now it is switching from LTPS (low-temperature poly-silicon) to OLED panels.”

But it all depends on how quickly Sharp is able to ramp up its operations capability in OLED screen manufacturing. According to Apple Insider, Sharp plans to infuse $568 million into its OLED business, but that’s only going to happen in early 2018.

We don’t yet know if Sharp already has the capacity to make millions of OLED screens for iPhone 8 – possibly the Plus variant – by next year. But on that front, Jeng-wu provides more insight:

“We are now building a new facility in Japan. We can make in the U.S. too. If our key customer demands us to manufacture in the U.S., is it possible for us not to do so?”

That’s not a confirmation, but it does show that Apple could be looking at that possibility as well.

A lot of things seem to depend on everything falling into place at the right time. If Apple is launching the iPhone 8 on the exact anniversary of the original iPhone, then they have less than 8 months to make sure they get their act together. The first iPhone was launched on June 29, 2007.

8 months is not a lot of time, and Apple is still struggling to meet the heavy demand on iPhone 7. Foxconn being their largest manufacturing partner, the whole thing rests on their ability – and Sharp’s – to meet a very tight deadline under extreme pressure.

We’ll keep you posted on new developments around iPhone 8 as and when they happen.

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