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Apple may be considering bringing back Touch ID to new devices, although with a significantly updated twist, according to new reports.
Reportedly, Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S10 flagship will sport an ultrasonic, in-display fingerprint reader. Two firms, Taiwan-based General Interface Solution and China-based O-film Tech, will supply Samsung with under-display fingerprint sensors, according to DigiTimes.
This is a relatively routine supply chain report focused on a company other than Apple. But, interestingly, the DigiTimes report also mentions Apple — which brings us to the possibility that the Cupertino tech giant might implement in-display Touch ID in future devices.
Specifically, GIS and O-film are competing with another supplier, TPK Holding, to win touch module orders for upcoming devices in Apple’s iPad lineup. It’s worth noting that O-film and GIS are both current iPad component suppliers.
Patently Apple was the first to make the connection between in-display fingerprint models for Samsung and their possible inclusion on future iPads.
While the 2018 iPad Pro lineup has switched to Face ID as their primary authentication method, Apple is likely to keep Touch ID on the lower-end models throughout 2019.
As Patently Apple puts it, “the question” is whether Apple will adopt in-display Touch ID for its lower-end iPad models — such as the 9.7-inch iPad and upcoming iPad mini.
There’s currently no hard evidence to suggest that, but it also seems like a relatively short jump and a fairly logical move.
Face ID is expensive, which is partly to blame for the new era of $1,000+ iPhone models. By comparison, Touch ID is a lot more economical. While in-display fingerprint sensors may be more expensive, they’re probably not on-par with Face ID.
That could allow Apple to retain the low price point of its 9.7-inch iPad and iPad mini while switching the form factor to mimic the “all-screen” design of iPad Pro models. Hypothetically, Apple could bring in-display Touch ID to the Apple Watch and iPhone lineups, too.
Before the debut of the iPhone X, Apple was largely expected to introduce an iPhone with an under-display Touch ID sensor. At the time, it was a solution to the problem of an “all-screen” design not having any space for a fingerprint sensor.
Apple patented an in-display fingerprint sensor system back in August of this year — well past the introduction of Face ID.
While Apple later said that it had been all-in on Face ID from the beginning, the company may have been exploring under-display Touch ID more than it originally let on.
It may seem counterintuitive for Apple to switch back to Touch ID, and it would conflict with Apple’s public stance, but it makes more sense when you consider that Touch ID could be an optional companion to Face ID.
Having a dual-authentication method on iPhones would, obviously, make them much more secure — and add the ability to use Touch ID as an alternative for people who aren’t fans of facial recognition. It’s not so much stepping backward as much as adding a new security feature that borrows from Apple’s past.