Looking Back at Rumors of iPhone X Design With Rear Touch ID That Never Emerged
Leaker Ben Geskin today resurfaced the rumored iPhone X design featuring Touch ID on the back of the device from 2017 that never emerged.
Around five years ago, when it was rumored that Apple was moving from the long-standing iPhone design with a round Home Button and thick top and bottom bezels to an all-screen design, there were significant questions around how Apple would implement user biometric authentication. Apple ultimately unveiled Face ID, but initial rumors suggested that the company would stick with Touch ID and implement it under the display or place it on the rear of the device.
Lining up with this, a fairly consistent series of leaks at the time depicted an iPhone X design with larger top and bottom bezels, a display with unrounded corners, an aluminum rear, and a round Touch ID fingerprint scanner on the back.
Retrospectively, the widespread and detailed nature of the alleged iPhone chassis has aroused suspicion that Apple itself was behind the rumor, seeking to lower customer expectations and flood the rumor mill with false information. It is also possible that the chassis were used internally at Apple for an early iPhone X prototype.
Why do I think that Apple itself made it? It’s too detailed. As if this was one of the prototypes, but I think it's clear that Apple never really considered this design with Touch ID, having an iPhone X with Face ID in its sleeve 👌 pic.twitter.com/zyAFU7JNNT — Ben Geskin (@BenGeskin) January 31, 2022
Whether Apple was behind the wave of false leaks that briefly captivated the rumor community five years ago remains unknown, but the mysterious iPhone design continues to arouse discussion.
Flagship iPhones will have been lacking Touch ID for five years as of this fall, but rumors persist about Apple reviving the technology for the iPhone. Apple reportedly tested an under-screen fingerprint scanner for at least some iPhone 13 models, according to The Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern and Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, but Apple apparently decided not to move forward with the idea.
In a September 2021 research note, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo forecasted that Apple will launch at least one new iPhone model with an under-display fingerprint scanner in the second half of 2023. There have also been rumors of a larger iPhone SE model with Touch ID built into the Power Button, much like the latest iPad Air and iPad mini.