According to a report from Bloomberg, Apple's iPhone 8 may not feature a Touch ID scanner embedded under the display glass after all. Allegedly, at least by word of an insider source, 3D facial mapping and recognition will take place of the fingerprint authentication when it comes to security related features, such as unlocking the phone and making purchases.
The source adds that the iPhone 8 will feature a dedicated front-facing array combining a sensor and a laser emitter which will be used to map the face - this setup incorporates depth perception so that you can't fool the security clearance by holding up a photo of someone's face. It's said that this is more secure than fingerprint scanning, but although the technology development at Apple is reportedly in an advanced state, it's not 100% definite that it will replace the Touch ID scanner.
The revelation comes very soon after a similar claim by reputable analyst Ming-chi Kuo of KGI Securities, who, in a note to investors, said:
"We predict the OLED model (iPhone 8) won’t support fingerprint recognition, reasons being: (1) the full-screen design doesn’t work with existing capacitive fingerprint recognition, and (2) the scan-through ability of the under-display fingerprint solution still has technical challenges, including: (i) requirement for a more complex panel pixel design; (ii) disappointing scan-through of OLED panel despite it being thinner than LCD panel; and (iii) weakened scan-through performance due to overlayered panel module. As the new OLED iPhone won’t support under-display fingerprint recognition, we now do not expect production ramp-up will be delayed again (we previously projected the ramp-up would be postponed to late October or later)."
He also added the phone would feature 3D facial scanning technology.
Back to Bloomberg, the report goes on to say that the iPhone 8 will feature the same ProMotion display tech seen in the new iPad Pro models. ProMotion increases the refresh rate of the display dynamically according to the content and environmental condiitons around the phone - it's intended to produce less blurring and artifacting. Interestingly, however, in the new iPhone 8 this functionality will be managed by a dedicated AI co-processor inside the A11 SoC. The co-processor Apple dubs "Neural Engine" and it is also responsible for running the 3D facial recognition, as well as other things like improving predictive text. As well as improving functionality of these features, it's claimed this will take such tasks awaya from the main processor cores for improved overall performance and battery life.
Lastly, back to Ming-chi Kuo, it seems that Qualcomm's newly announced in-screen fingerprint scanner did not make the cut for Apple's iPhone 8. In Kuo's view, reported by 9To5Mac, the ultrasonic scanner has problems with speed and accuracy, as well as having specific manufacturing requirements for flexible OLED and display glass thickness that may be awkward for many manufacturers to meet.