An iPhone with an in-display fingerprint scanner may be coming... exclusively to China

An iPhone with an in-display fingerprint scanner may be coming... exclusively to China
With the launch of the iPhone X, Apple ditched the physical home button to deliver a bezel-less design befitting of the 10th anniversary of one of its most iconic product lines. Alongside the home button, however, Apple also ditched Touch ID, which relied on the fingerprint scanner housed in the home button on the iPhone. It was superseded by Face ID, which the company painted as the future of biometric authentication on portable devices, and is currently available on every iPhone from the X up, including the budget iPhone XR.

Many eyebrows were raised when Apple seemingly turned its back on fingerprint scanners for good. The technology was just entering a new stage with the introduction of in-display implementations, which we now see have gotten very quick, very reliable, and very popular. Apple, however, is not a company to easily backpedal on decisions like that, so it was widely accepted that we won't be seeing an iPhone with a fingerprint scanner ever again.

Surprisingly, news broke today that Apple is actually planning to release an iPhone model with an in-display fingerprint scanner... exclusive to China. According to a new report by Chinese outlet The Global Times, Apple is gearing to release an affordable iPhone with an in-display fingerprint scanner—which entails an OLED display—in China. This is not very characteristic of the company, but is a very interesting development that could indicate a shift in how Apple does business abroad.


Prior to the launch of the iPhone X in 2017, Apple was rumored to have been experimenting with various in-display fingerprint scanning solutions, but ultimately ditched the idea in favor Face ID for reasons not entirely clear.

The return of Touch ID?


The Global Times report suggests a couple of interesting things, provided that it's accurate. First off, it suggests that Apple has decided to go back to Touch ID for this particular model, because it is cheaper than the TrueDepth camera needed for 3D face recognition. On the other hand, an in-display fingerprint sensor requires an OLED display, so this phone will have one, though the current "budget" iPhone model, the XR, has an LCD display with Face ID. This is not entirely surprising, as Apple has been rumored to be moving away from LCD for good, starting next year.

Another curious assumption that we can make from this report, is that this mysterious iPhone model may have a smaller notch. After all, Apple's justification of the notch was that it housed the many sensors needed for 3D face scanning – something that won't be needed on this phone. Furthermore, since it won't have a physical home button, it would be relatively safe to assume that it won't have big bezels either.

So, a supposedly affordable iPhone with thin bezels, a smaller notch, an in-display fingerprint scanner, and an OLED display? That's what many people have been asking for, so it is rather unfortunate to hear that it may be exclusive to the Chinese market.

On the other hand, this comes as little surprise in light of the recent decline in iPhone sales in China, which was further aggravated by the 18-month trade war between the US and China. According to The Global Times, Chinese users prefer smartphones priced at around 5,000 yuan (about $730), which is what most home-grown companies are aiming at for their premium phones. Not to mention that at this price point, users are getting the latest technological bells and whistles, like pop-up cameras, sliding displays, in-display fingerprint scanners, the lot. That said, it would be interesting to see what Apple comes up with to entice smartphone users in China to switch to this rumored new iPhone model.

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16 Comments

1. rebretz

Posts: 114; Member since: Dec 26, 2011

I would much rather have an in screen fingerprint reader if Apple can get a more reliable one developed.

3. Polaris1983

Posts: 33; Member since: May 22, 2019

As long as it works and learns from the galaxy s10 then it should do okay. Apple is very slow and methodical in its approach taking innovation risks as it has a reputation to protect.

4. TheOracle1

Posts: 2331; Member since: May 04, 2015

That's so "innovative". Only Apple could have thought of it. Lol

11. sgodsell

Posts: 7431; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

If Apple did come out with TouchID again, or something similar. Then everyone would look at Apple's removal of TouchID in the first place, as an omission that Apple was wrong to remove it in the first place. Apple is the one company that can never admit that they do anything wrong, they even go out of their way trying to make their customers pay for their mistakes. Batteries, keyboards, overheating, holding the iPhone the wrong way, and many more.

17. rebretz

Posts: 114; Member since: Dec 26, 2011

Removing the old touch id for face id was a good move. It's what allowed the nearly bezel iphone. If they would have kept the captivate fingerprint reader the iphones would still have a big chin. Now under glass fingerprint readers will still allow the nearly bezel free design.

18. oldskool50 unregistered

They could have put the FPS on the back dude. Geez what you said sounds totally stupid and poorly though out How many phones exist have FPS on the back. In fact many fanboys said what i said, which was they could have put the FPS in the Apple logo on the back.

2. mackan84

Posts: 547; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

Damn you Europe, should’ve followed my lead and started buying used iPhones ;) Then we would get this to!

5. Tech-shake

Posts: 213; Member since: Nov 14, 2016

Apple is becoming more and more just another company under Tim Cook’s lead. If they actually end up catering to specific countries to boost sales, they will truly lose what’s remaining of their identity!

7. TBomb

Posts: 1563; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

Remember when Apple said that TouchID was inferior to it's FaceID and that's the reason they completely removed it? It would be weird for them to go back after such a strong stance

8. droidboy

Posts: 69; Member since: Nov 25, 2012

Yes, and also when they said they wouldn't make a smaller ipad, a phone made out of cheap materials, or a stylus. Seems like they struggle keeping with what they have said in the past.

13. mackan84

Posts: 547; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

Isn’t that because we consumers never can be satisfied, rather then them saying something that is justifiable at that current time? I wonder if we had seen anymore iPhones if it had launched originally with a 6.5” inch screen for instance. Our needs grow and we demand more for each second we grow tired of our smartphones features. We have finally reached a halt and know what we want so as fast as we have catered India’s need, those yearly sales will decline even faster. Then finally we can focus on what’s important; software :) Because apps runs just fine on the 4 year old smartphone as the new one.

22. Matte_Black13

Posts: 27; Member since: Oct 12, 2018

I wouldn't say the pencil is exactly the same as a stylus in the sense you're referring to it. The Note line has a stylus—at least that's what I would consider a stylus. Also the iPad Mini is way overpriced for what you're getting.

21. Matte_Black13

Posts: 27; Member since: Oct 12, 2018

Nah. They should just have both, and make up some "interesting" sounding name for security using both. I think every company should give the option of using both for more sensitive information.

9. shield

Posts: 852; Member since: Sep 12, 2015

BOE build LCD with in display fingerprint scanner.

10. iloveapps

Posts: 855; Member since: Mar 21, 2019

Not gonna use an iPhone without face iD. Better they make under display face ID.

27. c.m.s

Posts: 236; Member since: Dec 10, 2017

I would not mind if they add it again but I would not use it. Going back to fingerprint scanners feels old when you been using facial recognition in my opinion. You do not have to think of it, its like having no password at all.

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