Apple is planning to reintroduce Touch ID with an in-display fingerprint sensor in its 2021 iPhones, a new report from noted industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has claimed. 9to5Macreports that the analyst says the technology will be included alongside Apple’s Face ID facial recognition technology in two years time, and that the two security methods will compliment each other to offer a unified experience.
In-display fingerprint sensors have been around for a little while now, having first appeared in Vivo’s X20 Plus UD early last year. Apple may have been working on the technology itself since at least 2017, when it filed a patent for an in-display fingerprint sensor of its own, but the company has so far held off incorporating the tech into its phones. The limitations of current in-display fingerprint sensor technologies are believed to be to blame for this, and they include high power consumption, a small sensing area size, thick sensing modules, and difficulties in production. Kuo claims that many of these problems will have been overcome by 2021, when he says Apple is likely to use an ultrasonic fingerprint sensing solution similar to Qualcomm’s.
As well as being used in the iPhone, 9to5Macnotes that Kuo also suggests that the technology could be a better fit for the Apple Watch than Face ID, although he stops short of saying that Apple actually has plans to incorporate it. The Apple Watch doesn’t currently include any form of biometric security, and relies on a PIN code.
Unifying the Touch ID and Face ID security systems is an intriguing idea. Potentially, this opens the door to some kind of two-factor biometric authentication, meaning a potential hacker would have to imitate both your face and your fingerprint to gain access to your phone. Hackers were able to foil Touch ID within 24 hours of the technology’s original launch, but the technology could be far harder to bypass if it’s being used in conjunction with another form of biometric security.
Although Kuo has a good track record of predicting Apple’s future developments, any prediction like this is worth taking with a pinch of salt — especially since it’s concerning products that are over two years away from release. The technology might not proceed as quickly as Apple expects, and there are any number of other reasons why Apple might change its plans. However, the inclusion could give the company’s upcoming phones their most significant shake-up since the introduction of the iPhone X in 2017.