Apple Inc. is developing in-screen fingerprint technology for as early as its 2020 iPhones, according to people familiar with the plans. The technology is in testing both inside Apple and among the company’s overseas suppliers, though the timeline for its release may slip to the 2021 iPhone refresh, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private work.
Apple introduced fingerprint scanning on iPhones in 2013, following its acquisition of AuthenTec Inc., a pioneer in the field. Integrated into the iPhone’s home button, the Touch ID system was used for unlocking the device, approving payments and authorizing app downloads — and it gave Apple a technological edge with its speed and reliability. Touch ID was replaced with face-scanning sensors in 2017 with the iPhone X launch. Branded as Face ID, the new face authentication again put Apple ahead of the competition with a more robust and secure implementation than rivals.
The upcoming fingerprint reader would be embedded in the screen, letting a user scan their fingerprint on a large portion of the display, and it would work in tandem with the existing Face ID system, the people familiar with Apple’s plans said.
Apple is also working on its first low-cost iPhone since the iPhone SE. That could come out as early as the first half of 2020, the people said… The new low-cost phone is expected to have Touch ID built into the home button, not the screen… Apple stopped selling new iPhones with Touch ID in 2018 with the launch of the iPhone XR and iPhone XS, saying that Face ID was more secure than fingerprint scanning. With the planned low-cost iPhone and future devices with in-display fingerprint readers, Touch ID will apparently be making a comeback.
MacDailyNews Take: Regardless of its supposed “low cost” nature, reintroducing an iPhone with an antiquated Home button seems like a big step backward, as anyone who owns and uses a modern X-class iPhone knows very well. That doesn’t sound like an Apple move. It’d be like introducing a MacBook with a built-in trackball.
As for embedded Touch ID in addition to Face ID, bring it on! It will make things easier for those who use iPhones for things like Apple Pay (we use our Apple Watches as it’s usually easier and faster), although with the next-gen Face ID about to be introduced (one that works at many more angles), it might be slower to use Touch ID than Face ID going forward.