Apple (AAPL 1.60%) is reportedly preparing three new iPhone models to launch later this year. Two of them are expected to be upgraded versions of the current iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus smartphones, while a third premium variant is expected to include an all-new design, a full-face OLED display, 3D sensing capabilities, and a whole host of other goodies.
Earlier this month, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo with KGI Securities revealed that Apple's OLED iPhone won't include Apple's Touch ID fingerprint authentication technology.
It has been widely reported that Apple was trying to get a version of its Touch ID technology, which is embedded in the home buttons of Apple's current iPhone models, integrated directly into the display of the OLED iPhone. In fact, as recently as May, there were reports that Apple was, indeed, including this technology in the new phone.
However, Kuo reports that because of "technical challenges" with this technology, Apple seems to be giving up on including Touch ID in this upcoming premium iPhone. According to a report from Bloomberg, here's what Apple will be replacing Touch ID with in that premium iPhone.
3D scanning for the win?
Bloomberg says Apple is "testing an improved security system that allows users to log in, authenticate payments, and launch secure apps by scanning their face." The report cites "people familiar with the product" for this information.
"This is powered by a new 3D sensor," Bloomberg reports.
The technology is reportedly both fast and accurate, with Bloomberg saying "it can scan a user's face and unlock the iPhone within a few hundred milliseconds."
Moreover, the technology seems rather robust and is "designed to work even if the device is [lying] flat on a table, rather than just close up to the face."
"The feature is still being tested and may not appear with the new device," Bloomberg cautions. "However, the intent is for it to replace the Touch ID fingerprint scanner."
This sounds cool -- if it works
Although I'm still unhappy with Apple's apparent inability to get the through-display Touch ID scanner to work, this 3D scanning technology, if it can be made to work properly, sounds as if it could be a nice replacement for Touch ID.
However, the fact that Bloomberg says the feature may not quite make it into the device is a bit concerning. Apple seemingly couldn't get a through-the-glass Touch ID sensor to work, even though there's plenty of evidence to suggest that it really tried. So even Apple, with its talented engineers and vast research and development budget, can't always get the technologies that it tests ready for prime time.
One more thing
Another thing that's rather interesting is the wording in the Bloomberg article. Here we are in July, just a couple of months away from the launch of the next generation iPhone models, and Apple is apparently still "testing" technologies for the new devices.
On one hand, it's really cool that Apple is trying to push the boundaries in terms of what technologies it can bring into mass production for the iPhone models planned for this fall. On the other hand, I'm a touch concerned about potential schedule slips and/or early supply issues because of how close to the proverbial wire Apple seems to be cutting it.
Exciting times for Apple customers and stockholders, to be sure.