Apple Reportedly Plans to Launch iPhone With Under-Display Fingerprint Sensor in China

Apple intends to launch a new iPhone for the budget-conscious Chinese market that features an under-display fingerprint sensor instead of expensive Face ID technology, Chinese media sources have claimed.

According to Sino-based English-language paper The Global Times, Apple will release the new "tailored ‌iPhone‌" in the country to arrest declining sales, which have been worsened by cost pressures from the 18-month long trade war between the U.S and China.

The new phone will reportedly remove Face ID, the facial recognition system for the ‌iPhone‌, and instead employ an under-display fingerprint function, news site reported, citing sources on the upstream industry supply chain. An industry insider revealed that this is likely to "save on costs."

A structured light laser emitter, the major component of Face ID, would cost several hundred yuan, said a Beijing-based representative who preferred to be anonymous. He told the Global Times on Monday that "only Apple can afford it but that would also affect its sales."
Apple has effaced fingerprint recognition entirely in its flagship smartphone lineup, which includes the iPhone XS, ‌iPhone XS‌ Max, and LCD-based iPhone XR. All have a notch at the top of the screen housing the TrueDepth sensing camera in lieu of a Home button, which contained Touch ID's focused capacitive drive ring in earlier iPhones.

Apple was widely rumored to be attempting to integrate ‌Touch ID‌ under the display on 2017's ‌iPhone‌ X, but the company ditched any form of fingerprint scanning after hitting "early line of sight" with Face ID. Chinese smartphone brands like Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo have since gone in the opposite direction and extended the adoption of in-display fingerprint sensing technology from their premium smartphones to mid-range models.

The increased use of fingerprint scanners in smartphone screens is also reportedly being driven by a reduction in sensor prices and the price gap between OLED and LCD panels. This strategy adopted by domestic brands appears to have paid off, with Apple losing many Chinese users who prefer smartphones priced at around 5,000 yuan ($731), which has resulted in an increase in purchases of local brands, according to Monday's report.

Despite the market shift to fingerprint sensing tech, many observers believe Apple is done with ‌Touch ID‌ in smartphones, although the company has explored various in-display fingerprint scanner solutions in the past, including fingerprint sensing MicroLED displays. ‌Touch ID‌ has also found a new lease of life on laptop keyboards, specifically in Apple's MacBook Pro with Touch Bar range and the latest MacBook Air.

Notably, following meetings with suppliers in Apple's Asian supply chain in May, Barclays analysts claimed that 2020 model iPhones will have acoustic fingerprint technology that could allow for full-screen ‌Touch ID‌.

Regardless, news of Apple's declining sales in China contrasts with the company's most recent earnings results. CEO Tim Cook said in April that performance in China had improved over the previous quarter, thanks in part to a sales tax cut in the country that allowed Apple to decrease the price of its products, and a "much better tone" in the China-U.S. trade relationship.

Tag: China

Top Rated Comments

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7 months ago
I want this instead of FaceID
Rating: 150 Votes
7 months ago
Apple intends to launch a new iPhone for the budget-conscious Chinese market that features an under-display fingerprint sensor instead of expensive Face ID technology, Chinese media sources have claimed.

How about “the budget-conscious” European market too? I am in! :)
Rating: 62 Votes
7 months ago
Can we get that in the USA and Europe too please?
Rating: 46 Votes
7 months ago
I’m sure it would sell worldwide much better than China only
Rating: 38 Votes
7 months ago
Yeah I call BS on this one.
Rating: 24 Votes
7 months ago
I like Touch ID. I'd be happy to see this.
Rating: 18 Votes
7 months ago
I would love this to get no notch
Rating: 18 Votes
7 months ago
I would much prefer to go back to TouchID at this point. Face ID on my iPXSMax is not half as fluid and seamless as it should be. I can't unlock my phone when it's sitting on my desk, on a stand or in my car unless I contort my neck to be directly infront of it. I have to raise it to work with my polarised sunglasses, and it is definitely a lot slower.

Touch ID, whether on the back, in screen or on the side is a lot more usable. Touch ID was as secure as 99.99% of the population need. At no point has an iPhone 8 Plus been hacked through the Touch ID function, and Apple has never said that it is insecure.

FaceID is like having 10 unpickable locks on your door, when Touch ID is like having 5. Both very secure and so far impenetrable, but it's slower and a bit more hassle with the Face ID.
Rating: 16 Votes
7 months ago
If this is indeed true, I doubt it would be a "China only" effort. It may be in an attempt to HELP sales in China, but I don't see them taking this big of a step in only one market.
Rating: 15 Votes
7 months ago
Touch ID > Face ID

I really just hate Face ID. Requirements of the location of the phone and proximity to my face or direction is a pain. In car/holder, fail - on desk, fail- in bed, nightstand, fail- on table or any other flat surface, fail. Touch ID grab and go- it is unlocked before the screen is in front of you.

I have tried and tried to get used to it, never have. I must enter my passcode 5+ times a day.
Rating: 14 Votes

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