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Report: This year’s iPhones may have touch ID on the screen



IPhone 12 and 12 Pro.  The next iPhones are not expected to change.
Enlarge / IPhone 12 and 12 Pro. It is not expected that the next iPhones will change very much.

Samuel Axon

This weekend, the business publication Bloomberg ran a number of articles that shared details about various upcoming Apple products. We have previously covered what Bloomberg̵

7;s sources said about the Mac series, but another report describes upcoming iPhones.

According to “a person familiar with” Apple’s work, the iPhone 2021 will be a small, iterative update and may have the “S” mark, which Apple has used to denote minor upgrades to the iPhone in the past (such as the iPhone 6S or iPhone XS). This is partly because the iPhone 12 series, which was introduced last autumn, was especially loaded with new features and design changes, but it was also because COVID-19 restrictions have slowed down Apple engineers, according to the report.

While the iPhone 13 would not have a radically new design, the report describes a potential change of note that Apple is testing internally: the addition of a fingerprint reader on the screen.

In 2017, Apple introduced Face ID, an authentication alternative for face recognition to the fingerprint reader technology (Touch ID) that it had used in previous iPhones. The first generation of Face ID was a bit slower and less consistent than Touch ID, but subsequent updates brought it up to level, and most users came to accept or appreciate the new method.

However, some people still prefer to unlock their phones with a fingerprint, and the need to wear masks during the pandemic has made login via face recognition far less attractive, although Apple released a small update for iPhones to make the process of bypassing Face ID when wearing a slightly snappier mask. Some competing Android phones already offer on-screen fingerprint readers.

This change will herald the return of Touch ID to flagship iPhones. In the current lineup, it is only present in the cheap iPhone SE model. Touch ID itself was introduced in an “S” update: the iPhone 5S was the first to include the technology. And like Face ID, it took iteration to improve Touch ID’s efficiency after it was introduced.

Stay true to TrueDepth

Apple has no plans to accept the TrueDepth sensor layout that facilitates Face ID, although it does introduce touch ID on the screen. This is because the matrix also helps with important photography and augmented reality features.

Bloomberg’s sources also say that Apple is “discussing” the removal of the iPhone’s physical charging port, since last year’s iPhones introduced MagSafe wireless chargers. But just because the company discusses it as an opportunity, does not mean it is a sure thing.

The report also claims that Apple is actively testing foldable iPhone designs, although these are not sure to hit the market, and if they do, it will probably be a few years in the future. Do not be surprised that Apple at least tests collapsible; The Android smartphone market has seen some foldable phones, although we have generally found them to be compromised or bad user experiences. As with the removal of the charging port, the fact that Apple is testing this feature does not mean that it will actually happen.

Finally, the report claims that Apple will finally release AirTags, its augmented reality Tile competitor. Bloomberg says the product was the only thing Apple intended to ship by the end of 2020 that did not come out the door.


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