Apple introduced a new biometric security feature, Face ID, with the iPhone X. The public hasn’t had a chance to try it out (if you haven’t been paying attention, the X doesn’t actually drop until Nov. 4) — but it’s probably just the first in a long line of Apple products that’ll use facial scanning.
Face ID might be coming to all future versions of Apple’s smartphones according to a new report from reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Kuo wrote in an investors note provided to 9to5Mac that the company could totally abandon the Touch ID tech used in iPhones since the 5S in 2013 in favor of the new facial scanning system as early as next year.
Kuo wrote that the new camera system behind Face ID, TrueDepth, is enough of a consumer incentive for Apple to move beyond Touch ID going forward. He called TrueDepth a “key selling point” for the next generation of iPhones, concluding that Apple will likely introduce the system across its product line to “capitalize on its clear lead in 3D sensing design and production for smartphones.”
This new insight settles the matter Kuo discussed in a report last month, when he wrote that Apple would likely wait to gauge consumer response to the new biometrics before totally ditching Touch ID. Kuo also predicted that premium next-gen iPads will adopt the TrueDepth system, which makes sense if Apple wants to position the camera and the features it enables as the top-level experience.
But the market for the Touch ID-sporting iPhone 8 has been temperate as fans bide their time for the X (although others disagree). With the pent up demand for the X in mind, Apple might have bumped up the timetable for the decision to bring Face ID everywhere.
This type of wide-scale adoption leaves the fingerprint scanners of the future in the lurch. Apple’s solution to keep the home button Touch ID with a bezel-free, edge-to-edge display was long rumored to be a display-embedded fingerprint scanner.
Apple went in a different direction with the X – but other smartphone makers, most significantly Chinese company Vivo, are still rumored to be working on next-gen embedded fingerprint scanners. Kuo believes that other companies will embrace 3D facial scanning tech due to Apple’s influence and the high costs of developing the embedded scanners, which could doom the thumbprint scan in the long run.
The TrueDepth system is rumored to be one of the main reasons that the X is delayed, and some people aren’t too keen on the idea of Apple constantly scanning their face. Still, FaceID looks like one of the main draws for the highly anticipated iPhone X.
We can’t say for sure if the company will actually be saying goodbye to Touch ID forever with the next round of iPhones, since this is just a rumor — but if the X works as well as advertised, our faces could replace our fingerprints for good.