KGI: iPhone 8 may supplant Touch ID with optical fingerprint & facial recognition sensors

By , Jan 21, 2017

iPhone 8 is widely expected to become Apple’s first full-face handset as the company is rumored to have devised ways of integrating Touch ID into the display assembly. A research note by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, a copy of which was obtained by MacRumors, claims iPhone 8 may sport a new biometric identification technology that would supplant the good ol’ Touch ID system and make possible iPhone 8’s rumored zero-bezel design.

As Kuo explains, because Touch ID uses a capacitive sensor located under the Home button’s sapphire-coated cover glass a new solution is required to realize a bezel-less iPhone appearance. And while Apple supplier LG Innotek showed off a fingerprint sensor embedded beneath a smartphone display, engineering an edge-to-edge iPhone would require putting a Touch ID-like system underneath the display panel.

The problem is, Touch ID’s capacitive sensor does not work through the display’s cover glass. Hence, the need arises for a new solution that uses an optical sensor which doesn’t require physical contact with a user’s finger.

Here’s an excerpt from Kuo’s note:

Judging by the bio-recognition patents that Apple has applied for, we believe it is leaning toward facial recognition technology rather than iris recognition.

However, we note that the technical challenges of facial recognition include: (1) algorithms; (2) hardware design; and (3) the build-out of a database for verification and authentication, which could be time consuming.

As such, before Apple can fully replace the fingerprint system with facial recognition, a combination of the two steps of bio-recognition could be a valid solution for enhancing transactions security.

Although the optical fingerprint verification technology in still in the early stages of development, Kuo believes that Touch ID-like fingerprint scanning will ultimately be replaced by a facial recognition system for increased security.

“However, if the technical challenges cannot be overcome, we believe a combination of fingerprint and facial recognition is another possible solution,” said the analyst.

Cowen and Company’s Timothy Arcuri was first to predict iPhone 8 would use a laser sensor near the Face Time camera for facial and gesture recognition features.

If Apple switches Touch ID for an optical system, its suppliers will definitely need to customize designs of their flexible OLED screens as to avoid any signal interference that might occur between the sensor and the display assembly.

Touch ID debuted on iPhone 5s back in 2013 following Apple’s acquisition of the Israeli biometric experts AuthenTec for a reported $356 million a year earlier. Touch ID works in conjunction with a Secure Element co-processor which is embedded into the main processor and has its own encrypted memory walled off from the rest of the system.

In 2015, iPhone 6s introduced a more reliable, 2x faster second-generation Touch ID.

Source: MacRumors

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  • Ara Rezaee

    I’m strongly against replacing touch ID and would never use iris/facial recognition.

    • iOS Kush

      Same here but I’m still getting the phone. Just the simple passcode will be good for me or nothing at all.

  • Reilitas

    If that happens, then I might become a full Apple user. What keeps me away is that they don’t have anything like ViPER4Android for their devices, Apple sells such wonderful products which I ‘do’ buy, but they need something like V4A. The only thing that was ‘somewhat’ good was EqualizerEverywhere which doesn’t do much, at least allow Dolby Digital Audio for something to keep audiophiles around.

    I would totally love to buy the newest iPhone WITH the AirPods, but my GS7 serves me so well. I did however buy the MacBook, which I’m really happy with so far. I’ve owned an iOS device on each firmware at least once in my life. For a company that strides for simplicity and thrives in perfection I would only wish that they would do something about the audio, is there any chance that we can see 4k displays in the future?

  • John

    And apple ‘may’ build a phone that hovers. My point is why are you guys writing articles that have no proof what so ever to their content? You might as well start making stuff up. Thats if your not already doing it.

    • Eliijah Moss

      It is simple; to capture the audience. It is much deeper then that, but it captures the audiences attention. Even though most of the rumors are backed up by patents, people don’t know when these patents are being used. Thus, the editors use this to their advantage.

      • John

        Which is fine but its the same bs as last year. Its getting boring now. Watch. When half the stuff they say may be in the iphone does materalise there will be articles almost straight after relese saying the iphone 8s will have the features blah blah blah. Its a joke. They dont and wont know until 2 months before so write it all then.

      • Eliijah Moss

        I agree that it’s the same thing every year. But people have to post something

    • Anthony

      Is it ridiculous to report on rumours? Look at where the rumour comes from. Kuo has a pretty good track record using supply chain sources to report on Apples plans.

  • Michelle

    You know what’s funny? The iPhone 8 will be the same exact design we have now.