It looks like Apple’s next line of iPhone, possibly called the iPhone 13, could feature an in-display fingerprint sensor with Face ID by switching to a secondary biometric authentication option.
According to The Wall Street Journal Joanna sternApple has been experimenting with in-display fingerprint technology for several years, and it could finally make its way to the next generation of iPhones. Stern says he was briefed on the new feature by a former Apple employee, who claimed the company is working with optical sensors for on-screen fingerprint authentication, rather than an ultrasonic sensor because “it may be more reliable.”
While on-screen optical sensors like the ones featured on OnePlus’ high-end smartphone use light to map a fingerprint, ultrasonic scanners like the one featured on Samsung’s recently launched Galaxy S21 series take advantage of tiny waves of sound to create a more secure 3D map of a fingerprint. Ultrasonic fingerprint scanners are also harder to fool.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard this rumor, with reports in recent years of in-display fingerprint technology making its way to the iPhone lineup coming from trusted sources like From Bloomberg Mark Gurman and Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. With that said, Ming-Chi Kuo’s 2019 report indicated that Apple was working with ultrasonic in-display fingerprint technology.
With the current COVID-19 pandemic in mind and the fact that many people around the world wear masks, it would make sense for Apple to go back to a physical fingerprint scanner rather than strictly relying on Face ID.
Given that Samsung first widely introduced the in-display fingerprint sensor with the Galaxy S10 in 2010, the timeline makes sense for Apple to finally bring the functionality to the iPhone. Apple has a history of taking established hardware features and developing them in meaningful ways.
That said, the in-display ultrasonic fingerprint sensor included in the Galaxy S21 series is safe, fast, and accurate, so it’s unclear how Apple could improve on the already established technology.
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