Apple Has 'Just Weeks' to Solve iPhone 8 Touch ID Dilemma

For all the rumors we've seen recently surrounding Apple's upcoming "iPhone 8", one of the most inconsistent remains the fate of its Touch ID fingerprint recognition technology in the redesigned flagship device, which is expected to launch in September.

In late May, supply chain sources suggested that Apple had overcome technical hurdles and that the OLED iPhone will have Touch ID integrated into the display. However, according to a report from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo earlier this month, Apple plans to replace Touch ID in the iPhone 8 with a facial recognition security system – a prediction echoed by both JP Morgan analyst Rod Hall and Bloomberg.

iphone 8 render 7 and 7s
In the latest throw of the dice, a report from investment publication Barron's concludes that Apple is still struggling to put a fingerprint sensor under the glass of its next iPhone, and that the company has "just a couple of weeks" to solve the matter before its earnings estimates are at risk.

According to KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst Andy Hargreaves, who contributed to the report, Apple has until August to either place orders for chips to run a fingerprint sensor, or miss that window and not have a fingerprint ID at all, or delay more significantly the release of the iPhone.

We believe it would typically take 12 weeks from placement of fingerprint IC orders to full volume production of iPhones. Consequently, if Apple is able to solve its fingerprint problems and place orders for fingerprint ICs before August, it would likely be able to reach volume production in late October or early November. We believe this remains Apple's preferred path, and expect it would be acceptable to both consumers and investors. It is entirely unclear if Apple will be able to fix the problem in this time frame.

Hargreaves considers the possibility that Apple will replace Touch ID with facial recognition "increasingly likely" as time passes, but "far from ideal". Echoing the thoughts of many observers, Hargreaves goes on to highlight the challenges a supposed replacement facial recognition security system would need to overcome to meet the standard of existing Touch ID, particularly with regard to authenticating Apple Pay.

We believe Apple's facial recognition system solution should work from many angles and in low-light environments. However, it would not work without clear line of sight to the user's face. Even if this encompassed just 5% of login scenarios, it would mean that several times a day the new iPhone would perform worse at an elemental feature than older iPhones, which would risk pushback from consumers. Further, we do not believe facial recognition would be initially qualified as an acceptable verification method for Apple Pay. While Apple could achieve this over time, the likelihood for an initial lack of Apple Pay could adversely affect demand.

Hargreaves concludes that if Apple thinks facial recognition isn't sufficient by itself for login and authentication, then a delay in the retail availability of the OLED iPhone is "very unlikely, but possible". But while the analyst believes a delay up until mid-November would not have an impact on investor expectations for the cycle, anything beyond that timeframe could have negative repercussions.

8f4241dbly1fhftve3lxcj20qo0x6wh5

Alleged leaked 'iPhone 8' glass back panel via Weibo

Meanwhile, alleged leaks continue to trickle out into the social media sphere, the most recent coming today via Chinese microblogging service Weibo claiming to show an "iPhone 8" production glass panel back that has no cutout for a Touch ID fingerprint sensor. Early rumors suggested Apple would relocate the sensor to the rear of the handset, similar to the Samsung Galaxy S8.

Apple is thought to have incorporated 3D sensing technology in the forward-facing camera of its "iPhone 8", which may perform a function in the purported facial scanning feature. Alongside the redesigned OLED iPhone, Apple is also expected to announce incremental updates to the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.

Top Rated Comments

newyorksole Avatar
44 months ago
I find this very very very hard to believe. A company of Apple's caliber probably had this figured out earlier in the year. I really don't believe they're "scrambling" to get Touch ID implemented.
Score: 71 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rosalindavenue Avatar
44 months ago
These stories are so dumb. (Not being critical of MacRumors-- keep printing rumors!!-- but of the underlying story). The hardware has been locked for months by now. This is a long-decided issue, whatever the decision was.
Score: 65 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Markiie Avatar
44 months ago
Hmm, no they don't. Either put it on the front of the phone through the screen or push the phone release until October or November. No one cares to have Touch ID in the back for a September release.
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Yellowbean12 Avatar
44 months ago
Whatever Apple's solution is, they've already had it "solved" for many months now.
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Sunny1990 Avatar
44 months ago
I really Hope Apple have succeeded in placing touch id under the display. i am not ready to get disappointed of no Touch ID.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
penajmz Avatar
44 months ago
I’m sure Apple already figured this out. Probably pushing these “rumors” out for hype.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

apple top apps games 2020

Apple Shares Top 20 Most Downloaded Games and Apps of 2020

Tuesday December 1, 2020 9:38 pm PST by
Alongside picks for the top iPhone, iPad, and Mac apps and games of the year, Apple today shared charts featuring the Top Games of 2020 and the Top Apps of 2020, revealing the most popular free and paid apps and games during the year. Among Us! was the top free game of 2020, followed by Call of Duty: Mobile, Roblox, and Subway Surfers. Ink Inc. Tattoo Drawing was the number four free app,...
m1 chip macbook air pro

Developer Delves Into Reasons Why Apple's M1 Chip is So Fast

Monday November 30, 2020 1:57 pm PST by
Apple's M1 chip is the fastest chip that Apple has ever released in a Mac based on single-core CPU benchmark scores, and it beats out many high-end Intel Macs when it comes to multi-core performance. Developer Erik Engheim recently shared a deep dive into the M1 chip, exploring the reasons why Apple's new processor is so much faster than the Intel chips that it replaces. First and foremost,...
iphone8guide b

iOS 14.2 Quietly Added FaceTime 1080p Support to iPhone 8 and Later Models

Wednesday December 2, 2020 3:21 am PST by
Back in early November, Apple released iOS 14.2 and announced with it a slew of new features for iPhones, but one thing it didn't mention was the apparent addition of support for 1080p FaceTime calls on iPhone 8 and later devices. The little-known fact was discovered by MacMagazine, which found that Apple quietly updated the specs pages for devices like iPhone XR shortly after the release of ...
apple briefcase

AppleCare Memo Hints at Potential Hardware Announcement Next Tuesday

Thursday December 3, 2020 9:12 am PST by
Following a busy fall season in which Apple hosted three events in as many months, the company may have one more product announcement in store this year. In an internal memo this week, obtained by MacRumors from a reliable source, Apple informed service providers that it has AppleCare-related changes planned for Tuesday, December 8 at approximately 5:30 a.m. Pacific Time. Specifically, Apple ...
best apps of 2020

Wakeout! Named Apple's Best App of 2020, While Zoom Earns the Title for Best iPad App

Tuesday December 1, 2020 9:26 pm PST by
Apple today shared its App Store Best of 2020 winners, highlighting its picks for the top iOS, iPadOS, and macOS apps and games released over the course of the year. Apple's iPhone App of the Year award went to Wakeout!, which is a family friendly exercise and movement app that encourages people to complete easy exercises while at home. Apple's iPad App of the Year was Zoom, which soared in...
16 inch MBP Mini Led

Kuo: Two Redesigned MacBook Pros in 2021 and New MacBook Air in 2022, All With Apple Silicon and Mini-LED Displays

Wednesday December 2, 2020 5:46 am PST by
Apple plans to release two redesigned MacBook Pros in 2021 and a new MacBook Air in 2022, all with mini-LED displays and Apple Silicon chips, according to TFI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a research note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Kuo explained that two new MacBook Pro models equipped with an all-new form factor design are expected to launch in 2021, and a new "affordable"...
iOS 14

Apple Releases Third Betas of iOS 14.3 and iPadOS 14.3 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Wednesday December 2, 2020 10:04 am PST by
Apple today seeded the third betas of upcoming iOS 14.3 and iPadOS 14.3 updates to developers for testing purposes, two weeks after releasing the second betas and a month after the launch of iOS and iPadOS 14.2. iOS and iPadOS 14.3 can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center or over the air after the proper developer profile has been installed. The iOS 14.3 update brings the...
homepod mini amazon echo size

$99 Speaker Showdown: HomePod Mini vs. Amazon Echo and Google Nest Audio

Wednesday December 2, 2020 3:12 pm PST by
Apple recently released the HomePod mini, a new $99 version of the original HomePod that's smaller, cuter, and, most importantly, competitively priced. At $99, the HomePod mini can better compete with affordable smart speakers from companies like Google and Amazon. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. The HomePod mini has been praised for its high-quality sound at its...
Mac Mini 2018

Apple Developers Now Able to Natively Run macOS Within AWS With Amazon EC2 Mac Instances

Monday November 30, 2020 9:01 pm PST by
As AWS re:Invent kicks off, Amazon Web Services today announced new Mac instances for Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, allowing AWS customers to run on-demand macOS workloads in the AWS cloud for the first time. Amazon says that the new feature extends the flexibility, scalability, and cost benefits of AWS to all Apple developers as those creating apps for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, Apple...
magsafe duo charger

MagSafe Duo Charger for iPhone 12 and Apple Watch Now Available for Purchase

Tuesday December 1, 2020 4:15 pm PST by
Apple today began selling the MagSafe Duo Charger that was announced alongside the new iPhone 12 models back in October. Priced at $129, the MagSafe Duo offers a MagSafe charging puck for the iPhone 12, 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max, and 12 mini, along with an Apple Watch charger. Though the accessory was announced in October and was listed as coming soon, it was not clear when it would launch. Orders...