Apple is testing an in-screen fingerprint reader that could appear in iPhones in 2020 or 2021, a Bloomberg report today said.
The feature would be similar to Touch ID, the fingerprint reader integrated into the iPhone home button starting with the iPhone 5S in 2013. Apple replaced Touch ID with Face ID with the iPhone X in 2017, as the company eliminated the home button in order to expand the screen.
But this time, users would be able to use either the fingerprint sensor or Face ID instead of just one or the other, according to Bloomberg’s sources.
“Apple is developing in-screen fingerprint technology for as early as its 2020 iPhones, according to people familiar with the plans,” Bloomberg’s report said. “The technology is in testing both inside Apple and among the company’s overseas suppliers, though the timeline for its release may slip to the 2021 iPhone refresh, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private work.”
2020 release depends on testing
Apple is considering putting its fingerprint sensor in 2020 iPhones “if testing is successful,” Bloomberg reported. So far, “suppliers have proven their ability to integrate the technology into iPhones, but the company has not managed to mass-produce it yet, one person familiar with the development work said,” Bloomberg wrote.
The in-screen fingerprint reader would work over “a large portion of the display,” Bloomberg wrote. Apple “would offer users both biometric options, letting them unlock and authenticate app transactions with either their face or fingerprint.”
That means the notch at the top of iPhone screens would likely remain. “[T]he Face ID sensor system will need to be retained because its technology forms the basis for more advanced portrait photography and augmented reality features like Animoji,” Bloomberg wrote.
We contacted Apple today and will update this story if we get a response. Bloomberg’s report said that Apple declined to comment.
Apple is expected to introduce three new iPhones at an event on September 10. Among other new features, this year’s models are expected to have a wider-angle Face ID camera for easier facial authentication.