Among the most talked-about aspects of this year’s upcoming iPhone 8 is, undoubtedly, the location of its Touch ID sensor. There’s seemingly no end to the back-and-forth on this question, and today, a new leaked photo once again shifts the ball into the rear-mounted court.
The picture in question is of an alleged iPhone 8 (a.k.a iPhone X or Edition) chassis, and it was posted to Chinese social media site Baidu yesterday. The unfinished body pretty clearly features a hole beneath the Apple logo, presumably for the placement of a fingerprint sensor. That aspect of the chassis lines up with a series of previous rumors and leaks suggesting rear-mounted Touch ID. Notably, the chassis also sports a cutout for a vertically aligned dual-camera setup — a feature we’ve seen in most, if not all, leaks and renders released thus far.
When rumors surrounding a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor first broke earlier this year, they were seemingly corroborated by reports of design bottlenecks concerning embedding a sensor underneath the display. On the other hand, more recent dummies, renders and schematics all seem to indicate that the company has decided to go with another solution since they lack the rear fingerprint sensor cutout.
Even recent stories reporting that Apple is still struggling with under-display Touch ID should be good news for display-embedded fans, as they suggest that Cupertino remains committed to the idea. Of course, there are other possibilities for biometric authentication, too. In the last few months, there have been rumors that Apple might go for a fingerprint sensor installed in the flagship’s power/wake button. Other rumors hint that they company might nix the fingerprint sensor entirely — instead opting for a facial recognition solution, since the new iPhone will reportedly have advanced 3D biometric capabilities.
Concerning the leaked chassis, it’s certainly possible that it belongs to a prototype that’s long been abandoned. In November last year, Apple was reported to have been testing at least 10 different prototypes of the iPhone 8. Combine that with rumors of Touch ID bottlenecks and it’s pretty likely that the company’s engineers were simply exploring alternate options in case a display-embedded sensor didn’t work out.
Whether or not Apple would settle for a design commonly used by its top competitors is another thing entirely. While some competitors have failed at display-embedded authentication, it’s still within the realm of possibility, as we’ve seen in Vivo’s new prototype.
In either case, it seems that we won’t know one way or the other until the iPhone 8 is unveiled in the fall. Beyond a new Touch ID system, the next-generation iPhone is largely expected to feature an edge-to-edge OLED display, wireless charging and rear-facing lasers for faster autofocus and augmented reality.