Over the past few weeks, we’ve heard troubling rumors that Apple is thinking about putting a Touch ID sensor on the back of the iPhone 8. The move would be necessary to eliminate the bottom bezel on the device, enabling the fitting of an edge-to-edge display that’s all the hot rage in tech these days.
But it would also be a middle finger to common sense, and mercifully, it seems that the rumors might be just that.
A new schematic spotted (but not verified) by OnLeaks shows the back panel for some kind of iPhone 8-shaped device. It has the dual camera lenses we’ve heard so much about and the physical design lines up with other leaks, but there’s one big difference: no cut-out for a fingerprint sensor on the back.
— Steve H.McFly (@OnLeaks) April 26, 2017
Hopefully, that indicates that Apple is going to wait to launch the iPhone 8 until it has an under-screen fingerprint reader working. That would let Apple keep Touch ID — a necessity in any new flagship smartphone — without compromising the all-screen design it’s pushing for. Even if it delays the iPhone 8 launch for months, it’ll be worth it.
So if there’s no cut-out for a fingerprint sensor, we have to start puzzling over the large circular support shown in the middle of the back on this schematic. It’s too large for a fingerprint sensor, but looks just right for a charging coil to allow for induction wireless charging. That’s one of the other features that’s long been rumored for the iPhone 8, but this is the first schematic we’ve seen that hints at it.
If that support is for a charging coil, the size and location hint at a traditional wireless charging solution, which requires you to position a device on a charging mat. We’ve been hopeful that the kind of wireless charging Apple is working on would give you some limited movement with the iPhone in your hand — think lying in bed, with a charging source positioned a foot away — but it looks here like Apple is just going to be keeping up with the competition.
Still, this is all just speculation at this point: even if the leaked schematic is real, there’s months left until any kind of reveal. Apple is likely testing a number of different prototypes at this point, and has mocked up hundreds of different designs. One leaked drawing isn’t confirmation of anything just yet.