Foxconn tests wireless charging for iPhone 8: source
DEBBY WU, Nikkei staff writer
TAIPEI -- Hon Hai Precision Industry, better known as Foxconn Technology Group, is making wireless charging modules to go with the iPhone's 10th anniversary range slated for release in 2017, according to an industry source familiar with the matter.
"But whether the feature can eventually make it into Apple's updated devices will depend on whether Foxconn can boost the yield rate to a satisfactory level later on," the source said.
Yield rate measures the number of satisfactory units in the production of a batch of components. If the yield rate of a component is low, then its production could be deemed to be too unprofitable. In that scenario, there is a risk that the component will be left out of the final product.
The source adds that Foxconn is making modules that will be incorporated into the handsets, but it is unclear whether all iPhone models for release in 2017 will come with the new function.
Apple Inc. did not respond to an email seeking clarification and Foxconn declined to comment.
The introduction of wireless charging capabilities is part of Apple's ongoing efforts to overhaul the iPhone design to boost sales during the 10th anniversary of its ubiquitous and iconic device that had transformed mobile internet and communications since the release of its first incarnation. For now, the new model has been widely dubbed iPhone 8, although Apple may christen it differently given the special occasion of its launch.
Apple suffered its first annual revenue decline since 2001 in the fiscal year ended in September largely due to a saturated smartphone market and sluggish demand for its latest iPhone 7 series, which had been criticized for a lack of innovative features.
The Nikkei Asian Review reported on Oct. 26 that Apple plans to replace iPhone's current metal casing with a glass back and a metal frame for all its three new handset models next year.
In addition, the premium 5.5-inch handset will sport a curved organic light-emitting diode screen, while the other two models will stick with existing flat low temperature poly-silicon display, NAR has also reported.
Tai Jeng-wu, president of Sharp Corp., an iPhone LTPS panel supplier, confirmed in a speech on Saturday that future iPhones would employ OLED display, although he did not specify when Apple would make the switch. The Japanese electronics conglomerate is now controlled by Foxconn.
While wireless charging and curved OLED display are going to be new features for iPhones, some premium Android handsets have been offering these for a while.
Samsung Electronics' S6 Edge, S7 Edge and the now terminated Note 7, and Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi's latest Note 2 all have curved OLED screens.
Likewise, the Android camp has been offering a built-in wireless charging feature for some time now, with South Korea's Samsung and LG Electronics leading the trend.