Apple is slated to release its next flagship smartphone in September and one would expect feverish activities at the Cupertino headquarters and on the production floor of the company. But from a latest report published in some online sources, thanks to some serious issues being faced with the phone, panic buttons are being pressed even as you are reading this piece.
The major issues appears to be on the side of the software, though one or two hardware issues have also been thrown up.
Before the details are discussed, it is essential that the whole thing be put in perspective. This is the 10th anniversary of the launch of the iPhone and there were widespread expectations that the company would go all out to make the landmark occasion count.
This included the expectation that the new iPhone would be released with many new features which none of the earlier versions had and even some industry-first features. If one went by these reports, Apple may take a decision to go ahead the release the handsets and update the features subsequently, as it has done many times in the past.
So what are the issues?
Wireless charging is one major issue being faced by the company. Apple has already decided to launch the next smartphone (there is still some confusion on the exact name; but the overwhelming opinion appears to be it will be called iPhone 8) with a glass panel on the back to provide for an induction-based wireless charging.
While the initial hiccups with the hardware components has since been taken care of, the team is still battling with some software development issues and this is at least one area where Apple will have to take the call to keep working on the software and release the handsets.
The next problem the company is battling with relates to the 3D sensor which is designed to use facial recognition to unlock the device. Here again, there are still unresolved issues and Apple’s team is trying its best to find the solutions on time.
In particular, the speed with which the sensor is able to complete the process and unlock the phone even when it is flat instead of being held against the face. Apple may update this feature also after the phone reaches the hands of the customers, if push comes to shove. Apple will resort to the OTA route as it has adopted in the past.
There was the issue related to the availability of the OLED display, but Apple has managed to obtain the supplies from Samsung. Another issue which cropped up relates to the location of the touch ID sensor. The reason for this is the expanded display size, leaving very little option to locate the sensor.
But the latest reports indicate that the sensor would be embedded below the OLED display.
Now, there are critics who point out that some of the above features are already functioning in rival Samsung’s devices and without any customer complaints.
The options before Apple are very limited. One set of people feel the company may just make an announcement in September and postpone the actual shipments to say, November.
The other set feel Apple may take a call, if only minor software issues remain unresolved, to go ahead and launch the handsets and reach the software later.
The immediate example one can cite is Samsung’s struggle with the AI-based digital assistant Bixby which is still to get its full functionality outside South Korea.
Image: Maurizio Pesce via Flickr