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article imageApple could abandon Touch ID altogether on the iPhone 8

By James Walker     Jul 3, 2017 in Technology
One of the most well-respected Apple analysts has claimed the iPhone 8 will not come with the embedded fingerprint sensor that has been a recurring feature of rumours and leaked reports. Apple was expected to place the Touch ID sensor under the glass.
Apple is known to be introducing an entirely new chassis design with the iPhone 8 that will feature stainless steel sides and a glass back. The company will place an edge-to-edge OLED touchscreen panel on the front, completely covering the handset and leaving out the bottom bezel.
This raises an issue for the placement of the home button and Touch ID sensor. It's the same problem that this year's bezel-less Android phones have encountered. Apple could follow the trend and put the fingerprint sensor on the back of the iPhone. If the rumours of a glass back are correct, this may not be feasible though.
The company has been widely rumoured to be planning an "embedded" sensor beneath the touchscreen glass. You'd be able to authenticate yourself just by touching the panel. This would give Apple a distinctive new feature without forcing it to compromise on the iPhone's core design. It aligns with the recurring rumours of a "virtual home button" being used on the iPhone 8.
Noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has now released a research note which claims Apple will not use an under-screen Touch ID sensor. In the report, published by StreetInsider, Kuo claims there are "technical challenges" in the implementation of the technology. These will prevent the innovative authentication mechanism from being ready in time.
If this report is correct, it raises the question of whether the iPhone 8 will come with Touch ID at all. With glass on all sides and the under-glass tech seemingly out of the equation, Apple may be forced to abandon the technology. The virtual home button will remain but for the first time in years a flagship iPhone could ship without a fingerprint sensor.
Apple is believed to be developing advanced facial recognition systems that could replace Touch ID. This could alienate existing users as face detection is widely perceived to be less accurate and convenient than a fingerprint scanner.
Apple is reportedly using a laser-guided infrared sensor in a bid to reduce latency and improve scanning responsiveness. Holding a phone in front of your face is still a less natural action than pressing the home button though.
The rest of Ming-Chi Kuo's report confirms the rumoured "full-screen" bezel-less design. Kuo also speculates Apple will restrict the colour options of the flagship OLED device. The company intends to regain the "boutique" image of its most expensive handset by limiting the number of configurations available.
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