Touch ID is a core technology that supports a number of Apple services, including Apple Pay. If JPMorgan analyst Rod Hall is to be believed, the next iPhone might ditch Apple’s fingerprint reader in favor of facial recognition, CNBC reports. iPhone 8 is thought to sport a front-facing 3D scanner sensor that could replace Apple’s Touch ID-enabled Home button. Hall wrote in a research note this week that Touch ID could be phased out if Apple goes with a full-glass front for the next iPhone.

The analyst opines that biometric facial scanning should be more secure for Apple Pay and work better in “wet conditions” if the next iPhone is more water resistant, as rumored. Touch ID, as you know, does not work reliably with wet, oily or greasy fingers.

Loop Venture’s Gene Munster speculates that 3D sensors would give iPhone 8 augmented reality features. JPMorgan, on the other hand, expects these sensors to be used with unreleased software features such as clothing sizing, home improvement measurements and scanning for 3D printing.

Facial scanning would cost about $10 or $15 per iPhone unit, Hall estimated. Other analysts have predicted that iPhone 8 would be costly and likely priced above $1,000 due to a number of new technologies employed.

Apple’s Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri said at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference last week that chips and sensors are among the most “strategic” and “important” Apple investments.

Google’s Android platform includes a security feature, called Trusted Face, that can be used to unlock a phone with facial scanning. Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 ships with a Windows Hello feature that can do facial recognition, too, in addition to reading fingerprints.

Renowned Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities said about a month ago that iPhone 8 would supplant Touch ID with all-new optical fingerprint and facial recognition sensors (rather than iris recognition, as previously rumored).

Kuo cautioned that the technical challenges of facial recognition—the algorithms, hardware design and the build-out of a database for verification and authentication, which could be time consuming—could prompt the Cupertino company to use a combination of the two steps of bio-recognition before fully replacing Touch ID with facial recognition.

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

Source: CNBC

  • Jamessmooth

    I have a surface pro 4 and the facial recognition works great. It’s pretty quick too. I can see this becoming useful in the new iPhone, but won’t the challenges be similar? If it’s raining and the screen gets wet for example, will it still be able to recognize your face? Will direct sunlight be an issue? I’d like to see Touch ID AND facial recognition myself.

    • I don’t think the screen has anything to do with the facial camera.

  • Personally I think this would be a bad idea and don’t believe the rumor for the following reasons:

    To action a 2-factor authentication alert I simply tap approve and place my finger on the home button. Under this method I would have to actually pick up my phone or lean over my desk so that my camera could see me.

    TouchID allows me to have my phone unlocked and waiting on the home screen by the time I’ve pulled it out of my pocket instead of having to waste time on the lock screen to unlock with my face.

    When paying with Apple Pay I can simply pull my phone out with my thumb on the sensor and not even look at it (unless I want to change from my default card). This change would require that I first hold the phone up to my face before putting it near the sensor.

    Again these are all minor “first world problems” but in all of these cases ditching touchID for facial recognition would be (however minor) a step back in usability and convenience. I’m sure facial recognition to unlock has it’s place but I’m not convinced it’s at the expense of touchID.

    • Agneev Mukherjee

      Yup! It would open up a myriad of problems for users!

      • Pallav Agarwal

        Of course it would. You know so much more than all of apple combined.

  • Maega

    This is quite possibly the stupidest rumour I’ve ever heard. I don’t know who Rod Hall is, but he shouldn’t be an analyst.

    Apple have spent millions implementing and improving on TouchID, and integrating it into many of their product lines. The MacBook Pro *just* got TouchID in late 2016, and it’s the biggest friend of Apple Pay.

    Facial recognition has existed on Android for many years now, and it isn’t used by many people due to the unreasonable wait times, low security and inability to unlock in low light. While using a 3D sensor would negate most of those issues, it’s still a slower, less secure unlock method.

    Facial recognition might be coming to the next generation of iPhones, but it sure as hell won’t replace TouchID. Apple aren’t about to throw away the quickest, most responsive biometric technology they have in exchange for facial recognition. Not to mention if Apple took that route, they may have to renegotiate Apple Pay terms with every partnered bank, as a bank won’t take too kindly to Apple changing security measures that could put their customers at risk.

    • javierE186

      I just believe they will use both. TouchID and whatever they call the facial recognition…FaceID…. I hope not lol

  • Agneev Mukherjee

    Google’s Android platform includes a security feature, called Trusted Face, that can be used to unlock a phone with facial scanning.

    That feature is only available after an OEM implements it, it doesn’t exist in AOSP!

  • Newgunnerr

    No. This is false. Apple knows this is suicide. They won’t do it, face recognition doesn’t work nearly as fast as fingerprint scanning and it’s not nearly are reliable or secure.

    Just no.

  • :D

    LMAO is JPMorgan just handing out jobs to anyone?

  • Let’s put faces on those fingerprints people!!!

  • Douglas L. Warren

    This is the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard… I really hope this doesn’t happen….