While Apple’s upcoming iPhone 7s and 7s Plus refreshes are certain to feature the company’s iconic, Touch ID-embedded Home buttons, there’s been a ton of conflicting reports in recent months about how Apple will implement its proprietary fingerprint-scanning technology on this year’s higher-end iPhone 8 flagship. Various supply-chain reports, for instance, have cited issues with development and manufacturing of Apple’s long-rumored glass-embedded Touch ID solution, which could ultimately delay the iPhone 8’s debut until well into October or November of this year. Meanwhile, Chinese smartphone manufacturer, Vivo, just recently showcased a glass-embedded fingerprint reader of its very own, which is currently in development by Qualcomm — giving iPhone 8 hopefuls a glimmer of hope that the company will deliver a similar solution this fall.
A report published earlier this week by Bloomberg, however, appears to uproot the majority of those previous reports and instead suggests that Apple will ultimately replace Touch ID, altogether, with an entirely new security system designed for the ultra thin-bezeled iPhone 8 — a comprehensive system which will reportedly enable users to log in, authenticate payments, and even launch secure apps by merely scanning their face.
The report cites a source familiar with Apple’s plans for the iPhone 8, as well as the ongoing development of the facial recognition system itself, who requested anonymity given their lack of authorization to speak about technology that’s “still in development and testing.” Nevertheless, the source indicated to Bloomberg that Apple’s new facial recognition security system will be powered by the company’s patented 3D camera sensor, which is rumored to be among the iPhone 8’s most promising new features.
Additionally, in a move suggesting Apple’s 3D system will be particularly revolutionary, the source went on to say that it will also be able to take advantage of next-generation Augmented Reality (AR) capabilities slated to debut on the iPhone 8, which will enable the system to dichotomously scan and augment a user’s eyes as an added blanket of security.
Citing the system’s myriad of speed and accuracy advantages, the source indicated that Apple’s next-generation facial-scanning tech will be capable of scanning, authenticating, and unlocking a user’s iPhone 8 within just a few hundredths of a second. Interestingly, they also added that the system will function properly regardless of whether the handset is being held within inches of its user’s face, or whether it’s laying flat on a table, for example.
While plenty of questions remain unanswered (and while Apple. of course, declined to comment), what’s still unknown is whether or not the technology will be ready in time for the iPhone 8’s September debut. However the source made it resoundingly clear that Apple is looking to outright replace Touch ID on its edge-to-edge iPhone 8, which is a fitting move, perhaps, given the touted speed and accuracy of the system, which the source said is able to “take in more data points than a fingerprint scan” — meaning that it’s inherently even more secure than Touch ID.