This year’s iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus could be the last Apple handsets to feature Touch ID as an authentication method, renowned Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities said on Thursday.
Face ID currently offers Apple a competitive advantage over Android phone makers, Kuo said, which could incentivize the Cupertino tech giant to fully embrace its new facial recognition platform. Earlier this month, Kuo said that Apple’s TrueDepth Camera and Face ID are at least 2-and-a-half years ahead of its competition, technology-wise.
“We predict all new 2H18F iPhone models will likely abandon fingerprint recognition. We believe this change will allow all new models to realize a competitive advantage via differentiation,” Kuo wrote in a research note distributed to clients Thursday evening.
Kuo’s forecast could shift our understanding of what next year’s iPhone lineup will look like. According to recent rumors, Apple could be planning on releasing an entry-level iPhone, an iPhone X and an iPhone X Plus next year. Another report suggested that Apple would ditch the numbered iPhone monikers, and just call each new iteration of its flagship an iPhone or iPhone X.
With Touch ID gone, Apple could opt to implement the iPhone X’s minimal-bezel, full-screen design across its entire iPhone lineup. That means the iPhone 8-style form factor with a dedicated Home button could soon be a thing of the past. Additionally, if Apple does decide to kill Touch ID, that would probably spell the end of its work on an under-display fingerprint sensor.
Currently, it’s not clear what Apple would do as far as Touch ID on its Mac or iPad lineup, but Kuo predicted a few days ago that 2018 iPad Pro models would likely make the switch to Face ID, as well. Of course, Kuo’s forecast — although reputable — is just one opinion about Apple’s future plans. Previously, Kuo said that the fate of Touch ID would be largely reliant on whether or not Face ID was “well-received” by customers. His new prediction suggests that KGI Securities now believes customers will receive Face ID warmly.
In addition, as Apple’s products are known to do, Face ID could shift the entire industry toward facial recognition as a standard. KGI predicts that Android makers, going forward, will scramble to “ditch” fingerprint recognition in favor of a Face ID-style solution.
But despite Kuo’s prediction, Apple may not have completely made up its mind yet. In a recent interview with blogger John Gruber, Apple Senior Vice President Craig Federighi said — although he believes Face ID represents the future — there are instances where a variety of biometric authentication methods or combinations thereof could “make sense.”
As with all rumors or predictions, it’s important to take Kuo’s forecast with a grain of salt. But, judging by Apple’s history of making daring design decisions (even if unpopular at first), it’s certainly looking likely that Face ID will become the company’s new standard.