Apple VP explains the ‘incredible feat of engineering’ that is the new iPad Air’s Touch ID power button

Apple VP of Product Marketing Bob Borchers and VP of Hardware Engineering John Ternus are featured in the latest episode of iJustine and Jenna Ezarik’s Same Brain podcast where they discuss iPads, including the all-new iPad Air and it’s next-generation Touch ID.

The new iPad Air features a completely new thin and light design in five gorgeous finishes: silver, space gray, rose gold, green, and sky blue.
The new iPad Air features a completely new thin and light design in five gorgeous finishes: silver, space gray, rose gold, green, and sky blue.

Frank McShan for MacRumors:

Speaking on the new ‌iPad‌ Air, Borchers says that implementing the Touch ID sensor into the top button in a much smaller form factor was “an incredible feat of engineering.” Ternus explains that the narrow aspect ratio of the sensor made it quite challenging to implement. The sensor needed to be “incredibly sensitive” and would have to capture a broader view of the fingerprint in the initial enrollment process and over time…

Ternus notes that the top portion of the enclosure is simply the antenna, and much work was conducted to ensure that the ‌Touch ID‌ sensor and antenna didn’t interfere with one another since both are highly sensitive instruments. He adds that much “hardcore silicon and engineering” went into ensuring that the sensor could deliver the same level of security offered by its previous iteration.

MacDailyNews Take: The next generation Touch ID integrated into the iPad Air’s top button is extremely simple, very quick, and secure. Job well done, Apple!


  1. I’m a little puzzled but there are quite a few Android smartphones that have device unlocking capability by touching the power button. Does Apple have some special tech that that those other devices don’t have for Apple to be crowing about how great their Touch ID power button is? I’m just curious about this. I just thought a thinner width touch sensor would have to be trained using more fingerprint slices but hardly something ground-breaking. Whatever. As long as it works well and isn’t fooled.

    1. Apple’s Touch ID technology is actually secure, unlike all other fingerprint scanners on current mobile devices. Could it be that maintaining the required level of security in a small form factor is a big engineering challenge? Very likely.

      As a general rule, it’s best to avoid comparing Apples to cheap pieces of crap.

        1. I wonder how many times I have read identical inane Comments like this over the past 30 years in relation to Apple. Too many to count that’s for sure and still waiting for it to come true. Indeed this must be third generation soothsayering by now.

  2. I watched the whole video which is a compliment that I watched it all. Everything was cool about it. Everyone was upbeat, even giddy, because, I mean, how can one be dour about Apple products?
    But no mention of the bad competitor’s bad products, especially so dramatically demonstrated when New England Patriots Belichick was disgusted and outraged at the bad performance with a competing tablet that the NFL foisted on him that he slung it into the trash can. The camera caught this moment.
    No politics crept into this video because its focus was narrow, but I will introduce it: The current politics is destructive and negative, even fraudulent. Take the description of Donald’s sickness, for example; He’s sicker than his politically compromised doctor in the formerly trusted HHS lets on. One day he’s mildly sick while the next day he’s taking super strong medicine that belies it. A forked tongue, masticating doctor if I ever heard one. And what about the clear problem of gross nepotism in the WH? And weakening the Postal Service to provide justification to sell off its assets to FedEx. And appointing an oil baron to environmental departments. Appointing anti education person to the Dept. of Education. Nominating a self-hating woman to the USSC.

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