A modern version of Apple's Touch ID technology might be coming, but only on 2021 iPhones

A modern version of Apple's Touch ID technology might be coming, but only on 2021 iPhones
The Galaxy S10+ is one of very many Android devices equipped with an in-screen fingerprint scanner

We're probably still more than a month away from Apple's official introduction of a new iPhone lineup most likely including another two OLED models and a lower-cost LCD variant, but the rumor mill is already in full swing regarding upgrades being prepared for both 2020 and 2021 generations.

Believe it or not, superstar analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims (via 9To5Mac) to know what the iPhone 13 (name obviously unconfirmed) will bring to the table in terms of biometric recognition technology, and it's something other insiders and rumormongers expected to happen as early as this year. That no longer seems the case, and due to "technical issues", Apple could well decide to delay the return of the beloved Touch ID sensor for another 12 months in 2020.

The future of fingerprint authentication is "invisible"


It's no secret that Apple rarely takes risks on newfangled, immature, unpolished technologies, sometimes waiting a little too long before getting with the times. In-display fingerprint readers have been around for more than a year on high-end Android devices, making their debut in China and gradually expanding worldwide on products from brands as diverse as Samsung, Huawei, Motorola, LG, Nokia, and many more.


The problem is these very cool hidden fingerprint scanners are generally not much better than their conventional counterparts. In most cases, they're actually worse in terms of speed, accuracy, and reliability, which is pretty obvious as far as the Galaxy S10 family is concerned. While not as eye-catching as the "regular" S10 and the S10+, the lower-end Galaxy S10e comes with a visible side-mounted fingerprint sensor that works flawlessly almost 100 percent of the time.

Of course, that doesn't mean smartphone manufacturers will go back to traditional methods of scanning users' fingerprints for device and payment authentication purposes. Instead, we should expect the fingerprint-on-display technology to get better with time... or die a painful death as 3D facial recognition takes its place. But the two features can also coexist on the same handset, and something tells us that's what most companies are aspiring to.

A reborn Touch ID and a continuously upgraded Face ID are the security dream


Although Apple doesn't try new things very often, one of its recent high-risk experiments paid off handsomely, as the groundbreaking Face ID functionality on 2017's iPhone X worked really well right off the bat, instantly putting Touch ID fans at ease as far as speed, reliability, and security were concerned. It was then hardly surprising to see the entire 2018 iPhone family snub fingerprint recognition in favor of the super-advanced face scanner that Google is trying to rival with the Pixel 4.


Naturally, Apple will continue to refine the Face ID experience, but if it becomes accurate enough, a backup in-screen fingerprint sensor is not to be disregarded. Together, the two state-of-the-art biometric recognition technologies could form an unbreakable shield even for the most skilled hackers in the world, not to mention advantages from convenience and ease of use standpoints.

First and foremost, Apple needs to make sure any attempt at reviving and modernizing Touch ID will meet its strict quality standards, which could take up to another 18 months, according to Ming-Chi Kuo. A few currently unresolved challenges reportedly include power consumption, size of the fingerprint sensing area, thickness of the sensing module, and production yield rates, which we're guessing are the exact same problems impacting performance on Android devices.

 

That's most likely why Apple can afford to wait and continue to polish the technology behind closed doors. Well, that and the fact Android-using rivals are still so far behind the Cupertino-based tech giant when it comes to implementing Face ID alternatives.

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14 Comments

1. cmdacos

Posts: 4100; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

3D facial recognition will have to become secure and adopt a unique characteristic before I consider inning a phone with it. Add in iris scanning or something. Till then, yes ultrasonic fps will continue to improve just like capacitive before it. It's already faster and more convenient than facial rec when I can unlock it as I pull it out of my pocket.

2. OneLove123

Posts: 969; Member since: Aug 28, 2018

Why don't we just skip to 2030?

3. Ichimoku

Posts: 165; Member since: Nov 18, 2018

duh, boring. I don't feel the hype about this upcoming tech.

4. User123456789

Posts: 818; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

Apple owns power/finger scanner on the side. Have no idea how they can have patented when leaks of z5 were on internet already. Anyway, why not using it?

5. CreeDiddy

Posts: 2146; Member since: Nov 04, 2011

Apple plans on making the entire screen as Touch ID. Much better than finding the thumb print near the bottom of the screen.

9. sgodsell

Posts: 7207; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

The current versions show a picture of a fingerprint on the screen. That is a picture to denote where the user is suppose to place their finger. So it's not difficult at all. I don't know why they would want a fingerprint scanner over the entire display, unless they want to use multiple fingerprints simultaneously?

11. sgodsell

Posts: 7207; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

BTW Creediddy, if you read the specs for Qualcomms ultrasonic sensor, they state that it can already support and read fingerprints for more than half the screen. Try and remember this technology is already out there and working fine on Android smartphones. You still have to wait 2.5 years, while the Android users will get this first.

6. iloveapps

Posts: 855; Member since: Mar 21, 2019

Apple will always get on board the best implementation of this tech. Unlike those android who uses it but doesn’t really help much. It fails almost 75%. Gimmicks!

7. Tipus

Posts: 847; Member since: Sep 30, 2016

Nah, make it 99% :)))

8. Back_from_beyond

Posts: 1377; Member since: Sep 04, 2015

It works just fine on my Samsung though.

10. sgodsell

Posts: 7207; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Iloveapps and Tipus are ignorant, especially when it's going to be from Qualcomm anyway. The same people that make the ultrasonic sensor found in the current Samsung Galaxy S10. At the end of the day they will have to wait till 2021. And the Android people will be using this technology for more than 2.5 years before Apple gets it.

13. berns

Posts: 34; Member since: Jun 07, 2014

yey, and they will buy the tech from samsung, as apple don't have a foundry to make it.

12. oldskool50

Posts: 1323; Member since: Mar 29, 2019

You mean an in-display FPS like Android phones have already?

14. Leo_MC

Posts: 7203; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

I believe that manufactures are going to "fade" away the idea of biometric authentication and they will integrate all those methods (face, finger, skin, grab, whatever ID) into the concept of AI authentication. Apple has done that since the beginning by designing the enclave chip to constantly learn the print of the finger/face.

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