Apple’s next iPhone could include “some form of facial/gesture recognition,” according to a research note distributed to clients by Cowen and Company on Wednesday.

Concept rendering of next-gen iPhone with edge-to-edge display.

The note includes several new details about Apple’s upcoming iPhone, which is expected to launch in September.

“Other features appear to include some form of facial/gesture recognition supported by a new laser sensor and an infrared sensor mounted near the front-facing camera and, as expected, should also finally include wireless charging,” Cowen and Company analyst Timothy Arcuri wrote.

“iPhone 8” OLED concept via iMore.

A new kind of depth sensor has not yet been seriously rumored to be in the upcoming iPhone, but it makes sense. Apple bought Primesense, an infrared sensor company, in 2013 — and a new kind of sensor would be critical for Apple to add augmented reality features to upcoming versions of the iPhone.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has publicly talked about his company’s interest in augmented reality technology several times in the past year. Apple is integrating this technology into the iPhone’s camera, and faces are one of the first things it should be able to recognize, Business Insider previously reported.

Arcuri and his team cite “field work” from Apple’s supply chain in its findings. Most of what they’ve uncovered line up with the current rumors about the upcoming iPhone.

He also expects:

  • “A feature-rich launch with three models” — a new 5.8-inch iPhone in addition to existing 4.7- and 5.5-inch models.
  • The 5.8-inch iPhone will have an OLED screen, which uses less power and produces deeper blacks.
  • The 5.8-inch model will have a “wraparound” design and will integrate the Touch ID fingerprint sensor “under the glass and in the active display area.”

Ultimately, Arcuri said he believes the newly redesigned iPhone, which he is calling the “iPhone 10” or “iPhone X,” will be “yuge” and could trigger a “supercycle” of upgraders.

It’s also heavily rumored that key components —such as the earpiece, FaceTime camera and Touch ID fingerprint sensor —will be embedded into the OLED display, allowing for a seamless edge-to-edge front panel. Arcuri reiterated those claims, and predicted that Apple may switch to Synaptec’s optical-based fingerprint reader for the new Touch ID sensor, citing it as “currently the only workable solution” for detecting a fingerprint through a smartphone screen.

It has also been suggested that Apple could turn to stainless steel for casings for the “iPhone 8,” with the durable metal holding together a “glass sandwich” front and back, akin to the iconic iPhone 4 design.
Sources: BusinessInsider.com; Appleinsider.com

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