Apple’s big 2019 iPhone event is just days away, but in typical style, Bloomberg is spilling some of the company’s secrets for next year — or maybe the year after that. According to a new report, Apple is at work on in-display fingerprint authentication technology similar to what we’ve seen used by Samsung, OnePlus, Huawei, and other Android phone makers. This would mark the return of the company’s Touch ID method of security, which would coexist with Face ID to give consumers two ways of quickly bypassing the device’s lock screen.
Bloomberg’s report follows a similar report last month from noted industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Kuo also said that Apple wanted the in-display fingerprint sensor to work alongside Apple’s Face ID facial recognition technology on the iPhone. Kuo however said it wouldn’t be ready until 2021.
Apple is said to be testing the technology both in-house and among its suppliers. Per Bloomberg, “suppliers have proven their ability to integrate the technology into iPhones, but the company has not managed to mass produce it yet.” The goal is to get there in time to bring Touch ID back with the 2020 iPhones, but Bloomberg notes this timetable could slip into 2021 in line with Kuo’s predictions.
Apple’s approach to in-display fingerprint readers would let iPhone owners press their finger down on “a large portion of the display” to authenticate. We’ve seen in early generations of these sensors that having too small of a finger-scan area can lead to failed attempts and make the whole process take longer than traditional fingerprint readers would.
Bloomberg also corroborates recent reports that Apple is aiming to resurrect a “low-cost” iPhone to succeed the discontinued iPhone SE. The upcoming device “would look similar to the iPhone 8 and include a 4.7-inch screen,” according to the report, which adds that it would include a home button with Touch ID. That’s not quite as compact and one-hand friendly as the 4-inch iPhone SE was, which might disappoint people who were drawn to that phone for its size. This new iPhone could debut in the first half of 2020.