Apple might fail to pull off bold plan to integrate Touch ID into the display this year

“A lot has been written about the woes that Apple is reportedly facing in trying to embed its Touch ID technology directly into the display of its upcoming iPhone 8 smartphone,” Ashraf Eassa reports for The Motley Fool. “The company is reportedly facing yield challenges with the technology, and it’s not even clear if the issues will get worked out in time to meet Apple’s desired launch schedule.”

“Per a new leak from reputable leaker Sonny Dickson (via MacRumors), it looks as though Apple might have given up on embedding Touch ID into the display and is, instead, going with a backup plan,” Eassa writes. “The leak from Sonny Dickson clearly shows the Touch ID sensor placed on the back of the device, below the Apple logo.”

Claimed iPhone 8 schematic (image: Sonny Dickson)
Claimed iPhone 8 schematic (image: Sonny Dickson)

“I believe that in the interim between the iPhone 8 and the 2018 iPhone, there’s a solid chance that some of Apple’s competitors will release devices with the fingerprint scanner built into the display,” Eassa writes. “If Apple isn’t first (or among the first) to deliver this technology, then it will look like a copy-cat rather than a leader, which, given Apple’s unfortunate recent history of being late to big paradigm shifts in smartphones (large screens, full-screen display, etc.), wouldn’t be a good look at all.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: To quote the late, great Yogi Berra, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”

If Apple does fail and Touch ID has to move around to the back, it will be an inferior placement versus its current position on the front of today’s iPhones.

Not only will Touch ID be, but we’ll feel, rear-mounted having to deal with that engineering decision/concession for at least a year.

No, Apple won’t move the Home button and Touch ID to the back of the ‘iPhone 8’ – April 13, 2017
Leaked iPhone 8 schematics show bezel-free, edge-to-edge display, Touch ID on rear casing – April 13, 2017
Apple’s next-gen 5.8-inch iPhone flagship to have mostly flat display with slightly curved perimeter, sources confirm – March 16, 2017
Apple expected to take 14% of global OLED panel production – 75 million panels – from Samsung Display this year – March 16, 2017
IHS analyst: Apple’s revolutionary 5.8-inch OLED iPhone to have flat display – March 13, 2017


  1. Touch ID on the back of a device (Samsung) is the most crass decision ever. I cannot believe Apple would do that. Most users have a case for their phone which would cause extra problems. If Apple can’t embed Touch ID then wait another year and stick with home button.

  2. It would be an awkward option for sure, but in the face of low yeilds for the ideal solution, and the risk of making their mainstream customers feel as neglected as their edge-case pro customers (by slipping the deadline), then the opportunity there is for Apple to put the damn thing on the back and say,

    “Like the Macs, the new iPhone can be authenticated right from your Apple Watch ! (“oooh..ahhhh”). And for those customers who don’t have an Apple Watch, the familiar Touch ID sensor is conveniently available on the back of the phone. Can’t innovate; my ass!”

    Don’t doubt me.

    1. And before anyone realizes that Apple has just made a the Apple Watch a $300 required accessory of you want a phone case, the theater will darken and the obligatory design video will appear featuring Jonny Ivy droning on about “exquisite chamfored edges”.

  3. The dream of ID sensing anywhere on the screen seems like a bad idea. From a reliability point of view, dedicated Touch ID and hardware buttons for key functions make much more sense. An always-on screen touch sensor just sounds like a fool’s errand.

    No doubt the highest priority that Cook is pushing the iPhone team to do instead of improved battery or voice quality or software GUI improvements etc, is to allow Ive to focus solely on the grand task to eliminate as much frontal area above and below the screen as possible. This is because, you know, the front camera and touch ID and speaker take up too much room. These things must all be hidden to meet Ive’s design aesthetic. it’s going to be so much better to have a device that has no obvious orientation to it or openings of any kind. Apparently internal leaks hint that Apple is considering moving the ID sensor to the back, which brings some serious ergonomic questions with it.

    Maybe Apple’s brilliant plan for the future will be to eliminate internal speakers and microphones so users will be forced to buy AirPods version 2.0 or some other bluetooth battery sucking accessory. Sorry if i don’t rush I out buy one.

    The 6 / 6S remains the high water mark for hardware feel and execution, even though the power button is in the wrong spot and battery life is compromised because Jony wouldn’t add some curvature to the back and make the camera flush. The nonmechanical Touch ID on the 7 feels like a cheap toy in comparison. Kinda like Apple’s MacBook keyboards since 2015.

  4. As the user of an LG G5 with a back-placed power/restart/unlock button (I’m also a Mac owner), it’s never bothered me at all, although on that phone the fingerprint recognition seems to have degraded after a year…. ….or my finger print has changed, lolz….

    ….I’ve also been out to the stores to see the new LG G6 and Samsung Galaxy all-screen phones and my reaction is mostly “meh,” as in, yeah, nice looking, and yeah, I’d appreciate the aspect ratio if I watched movies or gamed on my device, but I don’t – and I have decent beyond HD window on the world as it is, so no rush to upgrade. At a minimum, in terms of a feature upgrade meaningful to me, I want my next phone to have Blue Tooth 5 (which I haven’t heard discussed in the rumors about the next iPhone). And a better DAC.

    I will also put any widget as expensive as this into a case with at least of modicum of extra fall protection and so “create” bezels in any event.

    As will, I expect, most purchasers of Apple’s next model.

  5. It’s amazing to me that these fever dream rumors somehow have become solid facts and now we are talking about a delay when:

    1. There is no schedule.
    2. There is no product.

    This is setting up a nearly impossible narrative for Apple to overcome and they’ve got zero control over it. They’ll be accused of failing at something that for all anyone knows, they’ve never even tried in a meaningful way. We will never know for sure because the entire cadre of pretend journalists who follow Apple have run with the story based on rumor and speculation.

    It would be so incredibly satisfying to see Apple completely punk the supposed leakers when they announce the next iPhone and show up with something none of us have even considered.

    Sometimes I imagine what it would look like if they just shut down and dissolved. An entire pool of lecherous wannabe journalist hacks would suddenly find themselves scrambling for a real job.

  6. Lets pretend Apple does put the Touch ID on the back. I do not see Apple creating a new place on the back for the ID. They would use the logo itself as the sensor. Hold your phone and look where your fingers are on the back, you may see the pointer finger right on the logo.

    Now bend your finger to reach the purported location of the touch button. Uncomfortable, yes? Holding the phone is unstable? That does not fit with Apple design. I’ll get the iPhone 7s instead if this were to be true.

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