Foxconn Insider Reveals Details About iPhone 8, 2017 Mac Refresh, Apple’s AR Glasses, More

A Foxconn insider with information of the next 12 months of Apple’s hardware updates has revealed some key information about the company’s product updates in an IAMA on Reddit.

The insider had information across a range of products including ones that Apple is currently working on. As per his information, Apple’s Smart Glasses project has been delayed to 2018/19 or might have been entirely cancelled. While the glasses had a unique design, there is a “65%” chance that they have been cancelled now. The smart glasses included a microphone for voice input and also featured an accelerometer so as to detect motion. They also had a capacitive frame on one end to control the volume level.

Apple intended to bring AR to the masses with its smart glasses, though for now, the company is more likely to cancel the project. The insider does state that if Apple is properly able to execute the smart glasses, it could be as game changing as the original iPhone.

He also says that Apple’s Siri-powered smart speaker has been delayed to late 2017. While Apple’s long-time vendor Hon Hai was supposed to build the speaker first, it lost the contract to another Chinese manufacturer. Apple was testing multiple prototypes of the speaker including one with a screen and another one with a camera. The speaker will be powered by a modified A9 chip whenever it launches later this year.

The insider reveals that in 2018, Apple will be updating its MacBook lineup to use a new keyboard made of e-paper display created by Foxconn in a joint venture with a startup. The company was testing two e-paper technologies, one from Foxconn and another one from Qualcomm. While the latter’s implementation had a color display, Apple has decided against using it due to its ongoing IP dispute with Qualcomm. Previous reports have indicated Apple switching to e-display based keyboards for the 2018 MacBooks so the details revealed by the insider does have some credence.

As for the iMac, the insider says that the 2017 iMac will only feature faster internals with major design refresh and improvements coming in 2018. The 2018 model will also make use of more glass and will be available in a dark grey/black color.

Now, for the iPhone 8, the insider says that he had access to the EVT (Engineering Validation Testing) and revealed the following information about it:

It was more like an iPhone 7 with glass and without the AuthenTec’s capacitive touch module.

We saw test units with fingerprint scanners mounted below the glass but performance and yield rates were not good. I’ve seen reports of a rear fingerprint scanner which I haven’t seen; our team thinks the previous design + camera authentication is more likely given our intelligence.

The insider notes that he has seen two different iPhone 8 dummy models. The design of one of them was similar to that of the iPhone 7 with narrow bezel and the Touch ID scanner being placed at the rear, while the second prototype had a more radical design with stainless steel chassis and glass. He also says that the iPhone X production was delayed because the optical fingerprint sensor integrated into the display was not working as expected and vendors were facing yield issues.

He further adds that the camera module of the iPhone 8 will be vertically aligned similar to what we have seen in various leaks so far. As for the design and leaked renders, he says that the handset looks similar to the handset in the middle in the photo shown above but with more glass.

The Reddit thread is filled with more information about Apple’s upcoming products and hardware updates for the next one year. The insider has also verified his authenticity to the Reddit mods so the information he has shared is genuine.

Do note that some of the information shared by the Foxconn insider is based on older EVT especially surrounding those of the iPhone 8/X and quite a lot about the handset has possibly changed since then.

A quick summary of all the leaks shared by the Foxconn insider regarding various Apple products can be found below.

Apple Smart AR Glasses

  • Project likely delayed or 65 percent chance it is cancelled
  • Featured a microphone, accelerometer, and capacitive frame for navigation and interaction
  • Kopin NED Acetate frame
  • Polarised or prescription lens with Zeiss smart optics
  • Bone Conduction earpiece
  • Aim was to bring AR to masses
  • Unique design
  • Flexible battery difficult to mass produce

MacBook and iMac

  • Only minor internal hardware refresh for MacBook and iMac lineup in 2017
  • 2018 MacBook to make use of e-paper display instead of traditional keyboard
  • Different e-paper display prototypes were tested including a color one from Qualcomm
  • The OLED Touch Bar will continue to co-exist with the e-paper keyboard
  • 2018 iMac to feature more glass and will be available in a new dark black/gray color
  • 2018 iMac to make use of microLED display and feature glowing Apple logo

iPhone 8/X

  • Multiple prototypes in testing, including one with a radical new design featuring stainless steel chassis
  • Design similar to that of iPhone 7 with more glass and smaller bezels
  • Fingerprint scanner integrated into display
  • Vertically aligned camera module at the rear
  • Almost uniform top and bottom bezels
  • iPhone X production delayed due to optical fingerprint scanner

Smart Siri Speaker

  • Speaker has been delayed until late 2017
  • Will be powered by an A9 chip variation
  • Mass production contract has been given to another Chinese vendor instead of Hon Hai
  • Multiple speaker prototypes were in testing including one with screen and camera
  • Design similar to that of trashcan Mac Pro

[Via Reddit]

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