Activator + Touch ID

Back in April, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo gave us a roadmap of all the products Apple has in the pipeline for 2014 and now he’s back with an analysis of Apple’s plans for the Touch ID sensor.

His conjecture is that every new iPhone and iPad model shipping in 2014 will be outfitted with an improved Touch ID fingerprint reader.

Kuo has become one of the most reputable Apple analyst analysts out there who churns out some of the most reliable predictions about Apple’s future product plans so it’s worth paying attention to what he has to say…

According to Kuo’s note, he sees Touch ID shipments increasing by 233 percent this year to a cool 120 million sensors. That’s a heck of a lot of Touch IDs: by comparison, Apple shipped 36 million Touch IDs last year.

Apple’s Touch ID module should see shipments soar 233 percent in 2014. We believe every new iOS device launched this year will be equipped with Touch ID, including 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch new iPhone 6, iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 2 with Retina display.

Considering shipments of new products and iPhone 5S sales last longer than in 2013, we forecast unit sales of the fingerprint sensor module to grow 233 percent to 120 million for 2014.

The improved sensors should be built by the TSMC semiconductor foundry, which exclusively produces Touch ID units for theiPhone 5s. TSMC was recently reported to have started shipping the first batch of Touch IDs for upcoming iPhones and iPads.

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Kuo expects these new Touch IDs to be more durable and perform more reliably due to the use of tin for module packaging.

We think Apple will opt for tin, versus previously used chemicals, for Touch ID module packaging of new iOS devices in order to boost durability.

Kuo thinks Apple will procure Japan Unix’s laser welding equipment for Touch ID packaging production through Taiwanese agent Sunnic.

In addition to TSMC and Japan Unix, the analyst named other likely Touch ID suppliers: XinTec (a TSMC subsidiary) and WLCSP (redistribution layer services), as well as ASE and Sharp (packaging plus sensor production).

To me, the analyst’s note potentially signifies a bigger plan.

Should Apple in fact move to adopt Touch ID across its entire iOS device family, then the pieces are seemingly falling in place for a remarkably sophisticated and secure mobile payment system we’ve been hearing about for quite some time now.

Touch ID + NFC/Bluetooth + iBeacons + Passbook/iWallet + iTunes billing = awesomeness.

Does that make any sense to you?