Apple’s iPhone 8 said to abandon Touch ID fingerprint reader in favor of 3D facial recognition

“Apple could abandon its Touch ID fingerprint recognition system entirely in favour of a new facial recognition system, an analyst has claimed,” Mark Prigg reports for The Daily Mail. “Rumours have circulated in recent weeks that Apple was struggling to decide where to put the sensor – under the front screen with an ‘invisible’ sensor, or even on the rear. Now it appears a third option may be on the table – abandoning it entirely.”

“The claims were made by KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo,” Prigg reports. “‘We predict the OLED model won’t support fingerprint recognition, reasons being: the full-screen design doesn’t work with existing capacitive fingerprint recognition, and the scan-through ability of the under-display fingerprint solution still has technical challenges,’ [Kuo wrote].”

“To allow the facial scannimg Kuo says he expects the handset to have 3D sensing for facial recognition & improved selfie quality – as well and to make Apple’s recently announced augmented reality software more accurate,” Prigg reports. “Kuo also claims the handset will still be announced in September, alongside two models without the OLED screen [iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus]. ‘For optimized promotional effect, we think Apple may unveil the three models simultaneously in September, though the launch date of the OLED version may trail that of LCD models, and supply tightness may not improve before 1H18.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If true, Apple has not got 3D facial recognition down pat [Face ID®?]- just like they got fingerprint recognition right when the debuted Touch ID.

Ming-Chi Kuo: Apple’s iPhone 8 will offer highest screen-to-body ratio in industry; lacks Touch ID – July 3, 2017


    1. Yeah, upon reading this, I have to ask, ‘Why?’. Apple didn’t used to suffer from new feature-itis. Seems a bit gratuitous to me, if true. I don’t have to have it directly in front of my face to use my thumb to unlock it, usability seems to be falling down a few notches on their list of priorities. I really can’t think of a good reason to have this on my phone.

      1. Why? Well, Apple generally has good reasons, despite your apparent skepticism. In this case, it appears that getting rid of the chin for a larger display entails changing the method of owner recognition. I do not know if this is true or not. The article uses words like “could,” “claims,” “predicts,” “expects,” and “thinks.” An article that is full of these words is typically just a fluff piece written to fulfill a deadline.

        Even if the rumor is true, why fear it? Surely Apple will find a superior way to implement a new recognition function. After all, TouchID is still the best on the market years after its introduction. Apple seldom goes backwards with its technologies.

        The one thing that concerns me about the potential use of facial recognition is that a legal hurdle to unlocking your iPhone might be eliminated.

        1. Yes, I generally avoid articles that are based on speculative language (which unfortunately in the tech world is most of them these days). Nevertheless, it seems gratuitous to me as a feature on a phone.

        1. I have been using Apple products since 1984. The term implies a feature without practical justification, as in ‘gee whiz’ features for the sake of ‘gee whiz’, not a lack of new features altogether. It’s more reminiscent of Samsung or Microsoft, adding features that no one was clamoring for and don’t really offer any benefit over what they are replacing. Historically, Apple has considered things a little more thoughtfully, generally speaking.

    2. “Beta testers”? Are you serious?! Do you work for Google?

      Apple has released many new features on successive generations of iPhones. The TouchID that you seem to revere now was a new feature about five years ago. It worked very well from the start. Suddenly you are publicly expressing cold feet over a *rumored* new feature that replaces TouchID?

      And so many up votes for Pierre’s post…what has this forum come to? Real Apple fans look forward to the new product releases with anticipation. We do not fear change, especially rumored change. This is what happens when something gets popular, I suppose…

  1. I agree. If this cake is not yet fully baked, Apple should leave it in the oven. I’m hoping someone there has the common sense to wait until it’s truly ready.

    1. Me too. This isn’t a hockey puck easily replaced with a different mouse, or USB, which matured rapidly, or even a missing headphone jack easily modified with an adapter or AirPods. If touch ID is gone, it’s just gone, and given its ubiquity throughout iOS I do not want to have to hold my phone in front of my face every time I would have previously just applied a finger. Touch ID is also pretty dang secure. That’s been a big beef of mine with Apple of late – their former user friendliness seems to be tanking more and more all the time in a lot of ways.

    1. Hope people don’t have to crouch down for their faces to be read. Even if it could detect faces at a 3-4 foot distance from the terminal, users would still probably need to hold the phone at the correct angle.

      Can you imagine standing in the checkout and the phone isn’t at the correct distance, angle, etc? “Opps, it didn’t read it. Let me try to angle it correctly. I’m sorry, let me try that a second time. Shit, I’ll just get out my card.” The phone then shatters on the floor when the fumbler becomes bumbley.

    2. Apple Pay is now a crucial feature of iPhones and my initial reaction to Ming-Chi Kuo’s speculation about Apple ditching the touch technology was to be highly skeptical because facial recognition seems impractical to perform with the iPhone held near a retailer’s terminal.

      Thinking about it a little more, there might be ways for facial recognition to be used for payment verification. For instance, if the user were to start by allowing the iPhone to capture the 3D image of their face and then immediately afterwards holds the iPhone to the terminal, it would be a convenient operation and still one that would be almost impossible to fake, especially in a retail environment.

      The key to that proposal would be allowing the iPhone to verify that it’s you holding it and then authorising the transaction within moments. The downside of it is that if implemented in a way similar to how I’ve outlined, it’s hard to see how the terminal could automatically launch the Apple Pay app in a similar way to how it currently does with Touch ID if the facial authorisation has to be done before the iPhone is in close proximity to the terminal.

      The way that Apple has implemented the current Touch ID authorisation for Apple Pay is incredibly elegant. The challenge for Apple is to come up with an equally elegant solution if Touch ID is no longer present.

      The other thing to bear in mind is that fingerprint recognition might be implemented in a way that Ming-Chi Kuo isn’t currently aware of.

      1. One possible way I think it could work is if Apple Pay transactions are 2 phase. When you tap your phone to the POS terminal it activates Apple Pay and generates a token for the transaction. Then if the facial recognition does not send an authorization soon afterward, the transaction token is invalidated. From what I understand of credit card transactions regardless of what form it takes (magnetic strip, NFC, or the old print roller) only authorization confirmation that a customer has enough funds/credit is performed with the initial transaction. The actual movement of money or finalizing of the payment is done in batch at the end of the business ‘day’.

    1. I agree it’s a bizarre idea and almost certainly BS. However in your ‘perp’ scenario there’s nothing stoping someone pressing a fingerprint of someone else into a device now anyways.

        1. Perhaps, Apple users that are wont to claim the 4th and 5th on Fingerprint and facial recognition will start wearing face masks and gloves to prevent ‘public’ access to either w/o a warrant.

    2. If it’s truly 3D face recognition, then a flat piece of paper won’t work. 3D print the face, though, and you’ve got something… that still might not work, but you’re closer.

  2. Bad hair days, hair cuts, glasses, sun glasses, hats, beards, moustaches, sun burns, makeup, cosplay days at the cons (“Spock Ears Error”) and Halloween in general…. …plus “how 3D” to avoid the “holding up pictures in front” gambit….?

    Oh, and how do you log in in the dark? (From the phone screen’s ambient illumination?)

    Color me dubious. And like another commenter, in no hurry to spend a grand to be a beta tester. Give me good “old fashioned” fingerprint recognition for now…..

      1. I’m not sure Apple would place all those cameras on the display side. Or are you suggesting that the user will have to face the rear of the camera for the ‘full’ facial recognition functions to work?

  3. At the end of the day all these controversies ( rumor, truth or BS ) create dialogue about the iPhone and bring attention to it.
    That is a good thing.

    The truth will be unveiled in 3 months.. in the meanwhile the buzz stays alive.

  4. I think it’s all a smoke screen….they will have the FP sensor under the glass….C’mon….this is Apple! Rear facing would be awful so would facial recog….it’s gotta be under the glass…that’s why they took away the movable button last year!

  5. And Tom Cruze can get into anybody’s iPhone EASIER? Smaller budget movies… it all makes sense now.
    I think it will have both. But, then a gain, who cares. This is jive talkin’ for sure. Can’t wait to get one!

  6. Having to take your sunglasses or hat off for every log in, transaction and interaction would be a deal breaker. Or would it work around this?

  7. This seems unlikely. Although as another factor in addition to Touch ID, it’s not impossible it could make the next iPhone. Perhaps even be retroactive to previous iPhones with a good enough camera?

    I’m dubious of Ming’s rumor here.

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