For the last month or so, there has been a lot of drama surrounding Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) upcoming premium OLED iPhone. The device had long been expected to include an in-display fingerprint scanner, but reports began to emerge early last month suggesting that Apple couldn't get this technology to work properly.
Some analysts indicated over the last month that Apple was working feverishly to get this technology working, but, per a new report from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple ultimately gave up on trying to include it in the OLED iPhone.
Recent findings from the firmware of the upcoming Apple HomePod seemed to corroborate this.
Thanks to some new information posted by user "Foxconninsider" on Reddit, we now have a little more insight into why the technology was canceled.
It just didn't work well
Per "Foxconninsider," Apple did, in fact, develop an "ultrasonic fingerprint sensor" for the OLED iPhone to allow for fingerprint scanning through the glass.
Other companies have been talking about similar solutions. Mobile chip vendor Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) is planning to launch one next year, with devices using it first hitting the market in the "summer of 2018."
However, Apple's solution, per the leaker, "did not perform consistently."
"During tests for [the] final design the reader wouldn't function, or at least to Apples [sic] standard," the leaker added. "So new units include the finger print reader removed and instead relying [sic] on a front facing facial recognition sensor."
Interestingly, the user said that Apple also tested an alternative design that involved "increasing power button size with finger print sensor there instead," but Apple ultimately opted not to go with that design.
Touch ID is, for all intents and purposes, dead.
Touch ID is gone and not coming back
Although it may be tempting to think that Apple will simply refine its under-the-display fingerprint scanning technology, the reality of the situation is that if Apple cuts it out of the iPhone 8, then it's going to be gone for good in all future iPhone models.
Remember, as Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman wrote on social media:
Apple's pitch come September will be that Face ID is quicker, more secure, and more accurate than Touch ID. People inside Apple say it is.— Mark Gurman (@markgurman) August 5, 2017
Apple can't make that pitch and then, the following year, add back Touch ID because it manages to build a better version of the ultrasonic fingerprint scanner.
Touch ID's "last hurrah" should be in the upcoming iPhone 7s and 7s Plus models, which are likely to have Touch ID implementations similar to those found in the current iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, respectively.
After that, though, Touch ID will be relegated to the dustbin of history, in an act of "courage" that may be even bolder than when Apple axed the 3.5-millimeter headphone jack in the iPhone 7 series.