KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted in today’s research note that Apple may adopt a combination of fingerprint and face detection sensors to supplant Touch ID.
In another note to clients obtained by MacRumors, Kuo claims that iPhone 8 will debut an enhanced form of 3D Touch technology with higher sensitivity and a wider range of pressure levels.
As you know, iPhone 8 is expected to switch from the traditional LCD IPS panel to a flexible OLED screen curved at the edges. The problem is, flexible screens can be depressed and as such don’t play nice with Apple’s implementation of 3D Touch which requires a flat array of 96 sensors positioned between the cover glass and the display.
Thankfully, Apple’s negotiating power comes to the rescue.
According to Kuo, Apple’s OLED suppliers have agreed to create bespoke display designs for iPhone 8’s 3D Touch system, reinforcing it with a metal part to provide better structural support for a flexible OLED display.
Here’s an excerpt from the analyst’s note:
Apple may switch to a film sensor from the current FPCB 9 (Flexible Printed Circuit Board) sensor in order to provide better 3D Touch user experience, as a film sensor offers higher sensitivity. Also, we expect the new OLED iPhone will come with a flexible OLED panel.
To avoid deforming the form factor of the flexible OLED panel from touch operation pressure, a metal structural part will be placed under the film sensor to provide more robust structural support.
Kuo also contends that Apple is working on an optical fingerprint sensor for iPhone 8 that may augment or supplant the Touch ID capacitive sensor for biometric verification.
Apple may eventually replace fingerprint scanning with full-face recognition for authentication and unlock. On the flip side, technical and manufacturing challenges could hinder Apple’s plan for a new form of biometric verification.
Aside from iPhone 8’s all-glass design based on a flexible OLED display with a nearly zero-bezel look, Apple should also release this year iterative updates to the current iPhone 7 series in the form of LCD-based iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus models.