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3D imaging tech in Apple's 'iPhone 8' may push launch past September - report

The 3D imaging sensors anticipated for the "iPhone 8" are being produced by STMicroelectronics at a factory in France, a report said on Wednesday, cautioning that parts might not be ready by Apple's usual September launch window.

The sensors are specifically being built in Crolles, near Apple's Grenoble research center dedicated to imaging technology, according to an iGeneration source. The claim is said to align with plans by STMicroelectronics to invest $1 billion during 2017 —double last year —specifically for "new products and specialized technologies."

CEO Carlo Bozotti recently publicized a contract expected to generate "substantial" revenues in the second half of 2017, without naming the client involved.

If STMicroelectronics won't have sufficient parts ready for September, that would align with a Mac Otakara report claiming that an "iPhone 8" might launch well after that month, or even next year. Prototypes are in testing, but allegedly the company hasn't settled on anything firm beyond a 5-inch display, a dual camera array and wireless charging.

Likewise, DigiTimes recently claimed that a custom Apple fingerprint sensor won't enter mass production until September.

Most reports have indicated that Apple is planning to launch three new iPhones this year. Though two of them are thought to be LCD-based "iPhone 7s" models, sized at 4.7- and 5.5-inches, the "iPhone 8" has been described as having an edge-to-edge, 5.8-inch OLED screen, with sensors for 3D facial recognition and/or iris scanning. Part of the display should be reserved for virtual buttons, replacing a physical home button.

All three iPhones are typically expected to get wireless charging, like some Android devices, as well as "Type-C" wired charging, though Apple will likely continue to use Lightning connectors.

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