iPhone 8 Said to Have Enhanced Earpiece With Further Improvements to Stereo Sound and Waterproofing

Apple's so-called "iPhone 8" with an OLED display and wireless charging will also feature an "enhanced receiver" with "further improvements" to stereo sound and waterproofing, according to new research shared this week by JPMorgan analysts, who track the company's supply chain in the Asia-Pacific region.


For those unfamiliar, the receiver is the slim, meshed earpiece cutout above the screen that you hold against your ear during a phone call. Since the iPhone 7, it has doubled as a full-out speaker. With two speakers, Apple says the iPhone 7 delivers two times the audio output of an iPhone 6s with increased dynamic range.

JPMorgan didn't specify what acoustical improvements will be made to the iPhone 8's receiver, but it's reasonable to assume it could have higher peak volume at the very least. The earpiece will also be more waterproof, in line with a previous rumor claiming the iPhone 8 will have even better IP68-rated water resistance.

The research note also made the rather outlandish prediction that AirPods may come as a free accessory with the iPhone 8.

Apple including AirPods with the iPhone 8 isn't something we've heard before, so treat the rumor with a healthy dose of skepticism. But, if the rumor proves to be accurate, AirPods would presumably replace Apple's wired EarPods with Lightning connector that it includes in the box with current iPhone models.

AirPods cost $159 in the United States, considerably more than EarPods, which retail for $29 when purchased separately, and cost Apple barely anything to make, according to estimates by market research firm IHS Markit. It's unclear how much it costs Apple to manufacture a pair of AirPods.

Multiple reports suggest the iPhone 8 will be expensive, with the base model costing at least as much as a maxed out iPhone 7 Plus. Given that many iPhone 8 configurations will likely exceed $1,000 in the United States, perhaps Apple will still be able to achieve a reasonable enough profit margin to include AirPods in the box.

Other iPhone 8 features expected by JPMorgan have all been rumored previously, including a stainless steel and glass design, faster processor, larger battery, wireless charging, and 3D sensing module for facial recognition. JPMorgan estimates the device will be $75 to $80 more expensive to manufacture.

This research note comes from a group of JPMorgan analysts in the Asia-Pacific region, including Gokul Hariharan. Not listed is Rod Hall, who covers Apple for JPMorgan in the United States. Hall is the analyst who believes there's a highly likely chance Apple will preview the iPhone 8 at WWDC in June.

"iPhone 8" is a tentative name for Apple's significantly redesigned, high-end smartphone rumored to launch in 2017. It has also been referred to as the iPhone X, iPhone Pro, and iPhone Edition.

Related Roundup: iPhone 8 (2017)
Tags: AirPods, JPMorgan

Discuss this article in our forums

Future iPhone May Use Customized Wireless Charging System Made in Partnership with Broadcom

A future version of the iPhone could use a customized wireless charging system created in partnership with Broadcom, according to JPMorgan analyst Harlan Sur (via CNBC).

While Apple and Broadcom have reportedly been working together on a wireless charging solution for approximately two years, Sur is not sure whether the feature will be included in the 2017 iPhone due to "caution around the battery-related recall" of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7.

Despite Harlan's caution, the upcoming 2017 "iPhone 8" is widely rumored to include some kind of wireless charging solution, but details on how it is being implemented and whether or not Apple is working with a partner like Broadcom remain unknown at this time.

iPhone 8 concept image via Thadeu Brandão

Past rumors have suggested wireless charging partnerships and supplier deals with Lite-On Semiconductor, MediaTek, Foxconn, Pegatron, and Luxshare, making it difficult to suss out Apple's wireless charging plans.

Harlan's research note also echoes previous rumors pointing towards a glass body for future iPhones, which many analysts believe is being implemented to facilitate wireless charging.
"We believe the glass back cover is conducive to wireless charging as it reduces signal interference versus a metal casing," Sur wrote. "It is possible for Apple to add proprietary features such as fast charging or extended charging to differentiate itself from the pack and enhance the value of its own hardware ecosystem."
Early wireless charging rumors suggested Apple would use a long-range wireless charging solution, but more recent speculation suggests the company may instead opt for an Apple Watch-style inductive charging solution. A glass body, as is rumored, would be necessary for an inductive charging option, and Apple also recently joined the Wireless Power Consortium, a group committed to the open development of the Qi wireless charging standard used in devices like the Samsung Galaxy.

Along with wireless charging, Apple's 2017 iPhone is rumored to include a radical redesign, featuring the aforementioned glass body and an edge-to-edge ~5-inch OLED display that eliminates the device's Home button. Rumors suggest this device will be positioned as a high-end "premium" model that could cost upwards of $1,000, and most sources believe it will be sold alongside two more affordable 4.7 and 5.5-inch devices that resemble the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus.

Rumors disagree on exactly what material the two regular-sized devices will be made from, and whether or not they will include wireless charging as well.

For full details on what to expect from the flagship OLED iPhone 8 and its two companion devices, make sure to check out our dedicated iPhone 8 roundup, which is updated regularly with new rumors.

Related Roundup: iPhone 8 (2017)
Tags: Broadcom, JPMorgan

Discuss this article in our forums

iPhone 8 Expected to Have 3D Facial Recognition Instead of Touch ID

Apple's widely expected 5.8-inch iPhone with an edge-to-edge OLED display will feature a front-facing 3D laser scanner for facial recognition, corroborating previous rumors, according to JPMorgan analyst Rod Hall.


Hall said the scanner will replace Touch ID on the so-called iPhone 8, as Apple plans to remove the Home button to allow for the edge-to-edge display. His research note claims the so-called iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus could also have a 3D laser scanner based on increased volume of the module within Apple's supply chain.

The scanner is said to add $10 to $15 per module to the iPhone 8's bill of materials, which coupled with the OLED display, glass casing, and other increased production costs, could make its retail price up to $100 more expensive than it would be without those features, if Apple looks to maintain a similar profit margin.

The increased costs are in line with a recent report claiming the iPhone 8 could cost upwards of $1,000 in the United States.

Hall believes the switch to facial recognition will help alleviate consumer frustration when Touch ID does not work under wet conditions. He added that facial recognition will potentially be more secure than Touch ID, which could increase Apple Pay adoption among banks and merchants.

The research note said the 3D laser scanner could eventually be used for other purposes, such as augmented reality, but likely not until 2018 at the earliest.
One obvious and potentially most compelling use would be AR/VR experiences in which the user’s hands and other real world objects are being scanned and integrated into a field of view provided by the iPhone mounted into a Google Daydream-like headset. This would open up many interesting entertainment and gaming experiences not available today and might give Apple something extra in an AR/VR accessory compared to Google and others.
He also believes that Apple is likely to eventually open up a 3D scanning API to developers, who could use it to do "everything from determining your shoe size for online orders to helping make sure you are properly fitted on your bike."

Hall expects a strong iPhone 8 replacement cycle later this year, and he said an announcement about the product is possible as early as WWDC 2017, which kicks off June 5. Apple has not made any iPhone hardware announcements at WWDC since 2010, so treat this claim with a proverbial grain of salt for now.

Related Roundup: iPhone 8 (2017)
Tag: JPMorgan

Discuss this article in our forums