In 2018, Apple made one of the most controversial moves in its history and removed support for TouchID on newer models. They claimed that the newly-introduced FaceID was more secure and intuitive as compared to the previous product. FaceID has held up pretty well so far, and surpasses initial expectations of a letdown by far.
Why Have an In-display Sensor?
Part of the appeal of having an In-display fingerprint sensor is convenience. The problem with the traditional placement of TouchID that Apple popularized is its awkward positioning. No finger naturally glides over the area where the unlocking mechanism went.
A fingerprint sensor at the back of the phone makes more sense, but then you’d have to lift the phone up if you need to unlock it. This is also thought to be one of the main reasons TouchID was abandoned.
However, a lot of people aren’t comfortable using their faces to unlock their phones or complete purchases. If new reports from Apple insiders are correct, TouchID could be making a comeback, just in a completely different form.
According to a report by Bloomberg, Apple us working on a new In-display fingerprint sensor. This could potentially be paired together with FaceID to round up Apple’s use of biometrics for unlocking your phone.
A New Chapter in the Smartphone Wars
All things considered, an In-display sensor isn’t anything new. Multiple Android competitors including Samsung, Xiaomi and Huawei, have been working on features to get around inconveniently-placed fingerprint sensors for over a year. In fact, phones such as the S10, OnePlus 7 and Xiaomi Mi 9 already spot the nitty feature.
New from Old
Apple has a long-established track record of iterating old ideas and giving them a spin of their own. They weren’t the first to deliver fingerprint-unlocking capabilities or even face unlocking to smartphones. Those awards go to the Pantech G100 in 2004 and a Japanese company called OMRON the following year. Granted, OMRON’s face recognition was far less superior to Apple’s FaceID, but the point still stands.
Apple works on incremental improvements with such technology as the base and releases more streamlined and complete hardware. A good example being that despite the fact that the technology has been around for a year or so now, barely any manufacturer had gotten it quite right.
For example, when the Vivo Nex S first launched, it relied on optical scanning, while more advanced versions of the same such as Samsung’s and Oppo’s rely on more accurate ultrasonic technology. The same route is widely expected to be taken by Apple, perhaps tweaked a bit to improve user experience.
The feature is currently in development, according to Apple insiders and has been tested both internally and with different Apple suppliers. So far, reports indicate that they have been able to embed the device inside an upcoming build of the device. The only problem that remains is figuring out how to mass-produce it.
If everything goes according to plan, users should be able to use their fingerprints to unlock new devices on a large portion of the display by as early as 2020.