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New 'iPhone 8' 3D Touch tech rumored to be more expensive than Apple expected

Apple's alleged supplier for the 3D Touch implementation for the OLED "iPhone 8" has hiked its price, and is reportedly charging more than double for the assembly in the new phone, versus what it charges for the iPhone 7.




According to a new report from the Economic Daily News, TPK Holdings is charging between $18 and $22 for the technology for 3D Touch. For comparison, supply chain reports believe that the same company currently charges between $7 and $9 per iPhone.

Implementing the technology in an OLED screen requires a different manufacturing process. It is believed that the 3D Touch sensors are embedded between two glass panels that sandwich the screen and the sensor film. On a conventional TFT screen, the sensors are bonded directly to the display panel, not requiring embedding in a glass sandwich.

As implemented in the iPhone 7 and earlier, 3D Touch employs an array of capacitive sensors integrated with an iPhone display's backlight. The system measures the distance between iPhone's flexible cover glass and the sensor array many times per second, then translates the results into force data, with location data being passed by the regular touch sensing technology.

Film sensors such as those needed for an OLED display operate under the same working principles, but offer more accurate deflection readings in a design that takes up much less internal space. In theory, it could also allow for multiple locations to sense different pressures simultaneously.

In January, it was thought that the more involved lamination process would increase costs between 10 and 20 percent.

The "iPhone 8" is predicted to sport an edge-to-edge OLED panel with a 5.1-inch user space — the rest dedicated to virtual buttons. Slimming or removing the bezels would allow Apple to cram a larger battery into a form factor similar in size to the 4.7-inch iPhone 7. Also expected is a new 3D facial scanner .

With a complete redesign, plus the inclusion of a 2.5D curved glass back with wireless charging, some reports have pegged the starting price of the "iPhone 8" at more than $1,000.