In a note to clients obtained Monday by AppleInsider, revered analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is predicting that the next iPhone will have a much improved and more reliable Touch ID fingerprint sensor that will “offer a better and safer Apple Pay user experience by reducing reading errors.”
An analyst with KGI Securities, Kuo is plugged deeply into Apple’s supply chain and has proven reliable.
“We think the new iPhone, expected to launch in the third quarter of 2015, will be equipped with an upgraded Touch ID module, with which Apple intends to offer a better and safer Apple Pay user experience with reduced reading errors,” reads the analyst note.
“We therefore raise our fiscal 2015 shipments of Touch ID module by 12.4 percent to 262 million sets, boosted by Apple Pay and new iPhone models.”
Earlier this morning, Asymco predicted that Apple will ship as many as 320 million iOS devices throughout 2015, both Touch ID-enabled and non-Touch ID units.
Taiwanese suppliers should ramp up production of the improved Touch ID module in the second quarter of this year, Kuo said.
The fingerprint sensor will remain embedded into the iconic Home button rather than being integrated into touch panels, as proposed in Apple’s recent patent filing for a “Fingerprint Sensor in an Electronic Device.”
“Though Apple has filed patents for the integration of Touch ID and touch panel, this isn’t likely to bear fruit near term as complex algorithms and sapphire cover lens are also required,” he said. “We therefore don’t see any impact on supply chain momentum.”
Because he’s plugged into Apple’s vast network of suppliers in Asia, Kuo has been able to make (mostly) accurate predictions about Apple’s pipeline, just by observing supply chain activity.
Earlier in the month, he projected the steepest iPad declines this year since the tablet was released in 2010 and called for an Apple-branded creative stylus accessory to be offered later this year as an optional accessory for the rumored iPad Pro.