Apple’s Greg Joswiak Says Touch ID Will ‘Continue to Have a Role’

Apple's vice president of product marketing Greg Joswiak recently spoke with the UK's Daily Express about the future of its biometric authentication systems, noting that while Face ID will be expanded to more devices over time, Touch ID will "continue to have a role" for the foreseeable future.


"Certainly, we'll continue to put it on more devices but also Touch ID will continue to have a role - it's a great technology on our iPad lineup and we don't see it going away anytime soon," said Joswiak.

While the latest iPad Pro models are equipped with the more-expensive Face ID system, lower-end iPad, iPad Air, and iPad mini models still have Touch ID home buttons to keep costs down, and that will likely remain the case for years. Touch ID is also built into recent MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models.

As for the iPhone, Apple continues to sell older iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models with Touch ID, but it has not introduced a new iPhone with fingerprint authentication since 2017. The upcoming iPhone 11 models are expected to stick with Face ID, which Apple says has been made 30 percent faster in iOS 13.

Looking ahead, multiple reports have claimed that Apple plans to release an iPhone with both Face ID and an under-display fingerprint scanner in 2020 or 2021. The under-display option could certainly be given a new name, however, to distinguish it from traditional Touch ID with a home button.


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Bloomberg: Apple Planning iPhone With Both Face ID and Touch ID Under Display by 2021

Apple is developing an in-display fingerprint scanner for future iPhones, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman and Debby Wu.


The report claims Apple is considering including the in-display scanner in a 2020 iPhone if testing is successful, but adds there is a possibility the tech will not be ready until 2021. This lines up with a prediction from noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who expects an iPhone with both Face ID and in-display Touch ID in 2021.

The upcoming fingerprint reader would be embedded in the display, enabling users to unlock the iPhone by placing a finger almost anywhere on the screen, and it would complement rather than replace the existing Face ID system. This would give users the convenience of two biometric authentication options.

Face ID and Touch ID each have their weaknesses, such as Face ID not working well when an iPhone is laying flat on a table, or Touch ID not playing friendly with wet fingers. With both systems, users would have the best of both worlds, using the authentication option that is better in a given situation.

Several major Android smartphone makers have adopted in-screen fingerprint scanners over the past few years, including Samsung.

Apple is also working on its first low-cost iPhone since the iPhone SE, which could launch as early as the first half of 2020, according to Bloomberg. As Nikkei reported earlier this week, the device is said to look similar to the iPhone 8, including a 4.7-inch display and a Touch ID home button.

The iPhone 8 currently retails for $599 and up, while the iPhone SE started at $399, but was later discounted to $349.


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Kuo: 2021 iPhone Will Feature Fingerprint-Sensing Display in Addition to Face ID

Apple will launch an iPhone equipped with both Face ID and an on-display fingerprint sensor in 2021, according to a new investor note by Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and obtained by MacRumors.


Kuo's prediction is based on Apple's patents related to fingerprint on display (FOD) and the continued use of the technology in Android smartphones, which together suggest to him that Apple will opt to bring fingerprint scanning back to its smartphone screens.
In terms of technology, we predict that four critical technical issues of FOD will significantly improve in 12–18 months, including module thickness, sensing area, power consumption, and lamination yield rate. Therefore, we believe that Apple will launch the new iPhone equipped with both Face ID and FOD to enhance security and convenience thanks to the multi-biometrics.
Apple has effaced fingerprint recognition entirely in its flagship smartphone lineup, which includes the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and LCD-based iPhone XR. Chinese mobile vendors meanwhile have gone in the opposite direction and extended the adoption of in-display fingerprint sensing technology from their premium smartphones to mid-range models, where they've proved just as popular.

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. However, Kuo argues that Face ID and FOD technologies are "complementary, not competitive," because multi-biometrics would offer authentication processes in circumstances where one or the other was inconvenient to use or simply unavailable.

Kuo believes that GIS and Qualcomm will benefit from iPhone's adoption of FOD, with the former providing the "large-area sensing ultrasonic" technology and the latter supplying the ultrasonic FOD module and lamination. Kuo also argues that the likelihood of FOD in iPhones will increase if Apple Watch supports a biometric function in the future.

Last month, Chinese media sources claimed Apple intends to launch a new iPhone for the budget-conscious Chinese market that features an under-display fingerprint sensor. However, those reports said the fingerprint scanning would replace rather than augment Face ID technology, which was deemed too expensive.

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

Before these reports, the consensus was that Apple is done with Touch ID in smartphones, despite having explored various in-display fingerprint scanner solutions in the past, including fingerprint sensing MicroLED displays. However, Touch ID has found a new lease of life on laptop keyboards, specifically in Apple's MacBook Pro range and the MacBook Air.


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Apple Promotes Face ID as Even Easier and More Secure Than Touch ID in Humorous New iPhone Ad

Apple's latest iPhone ad humorously demonstrates how Face ID is more convenient and secure than Touch ID for user authentication.

Timed with midsummer, the 30-second spot depicts a man napping on a reclining lounger in a backyard. After receiving a trio of iMessage notifications on his iPhone XR, he slowly raises the lounger to line up his face with the iPhone and unlocks the device with Face ID, all while continuing to lay down.


The messages come from a friend named Craig, who asks the man if he still plans to come around, suggesting that the two had made plans together. Instead, the man promptly returns to his nap alongside his dog. The ad is aptly titled "Nap" and features the song "Nice" by Grammy Award-winning DJ Latroit.


Face ID debuted on the iPhone X in 2017. At the time, Apple said the probability that a random person could unlock someone else's iPhone X was approximately one in 1,000,000, versus one in 50,000 for Touch ID.

The ad is part of Apple's ongoing "That's iPhone" marketing campaign promoting both hardware and software features of the device, such as iMessage encryption, App Store privacy, iPhone material recycling, and water resistance. "Face ID is even easier and more secure than Touch ID. That's iPhone."


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2020 iPhones May Have Full-Screen Touch ID, New iPhone SE Based on iPhone 8 Also Possible Next Year

Barclays analyst Blayne Curtis and his associates today shared their expectations for both 2019 and 2020 model iPhones following their trip to Asia earlier this month, where they met with some suppliers within Apple's supply chain.

MacRumors render of 2019 iPhones with triple-lens rear cameras

Our summary of the research note, shared with MacRumors:Other rumors have suggested that 2019 iPhones will feature frosted glass casing, larger batteries, and a bilateral charging feature that allows users to charge AirPods or an Apple Watch by placing them on the back of the iPhone.

Apple will likely unveil its latest iPhones in September as usual at Steve Jobs Theater.

Related Roundup: 2019 iPhones

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Popularity of OLED Smartphones With In-Display Fingerprint Scanners Continues to Grow in 2019

The popularity of OLED smartphones with in-display fingerprint sensors will continue to gather pace in 2019, DigiTimes reports this morning, despite Apple's decision to move away from the technology in favor of face recognition.

Citing industry sources, the report says that rising popularity for fingerprint scanners in smartphone screens is being driven by a reduction in sensor prices and the price gap between OLED and LCD panels.

The market size of OLED panels with in-display fingerprint sensors has expanded significantly as handset vendors including Samsung Electronics, Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo have extended the adoption of in-display fingerprint sensing technology from the premium smartphones to mid-range models, said the sources.

The introduction of optical fingerprint sensing solutions by vendors including Synaptics and Goodix Technology in 2018, which came with more competitive pricing and fitted with the prevailing all-screen display design for smartphones, has helped bring down overall prices of in-display fingerprint sensor chips and therefore further drive up the popularity of such a technology, said the sources.
Apple was widely rumored to be attempting to integrate Touch ID under the display on the iPhone X, but the company's hardware engineering chief Dan Riccio later said it ditched any form of fingerprint scanning after hitting "early line of sight" with Face ID.

Apple has since done away with 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 contains Touch ID's focused capacitive drive ring in earlier iPhones. Apple's latest iPad Pro models have also inherited Apple's cutting edge face-recognition tech.

Apple's biggest rival, Samsung, includes an Ultrasonic fingerprint scanner embedded into the screen of its latest Galaxy S10 smartphone. Samsung's tech uses sound waves to create an intricate 3D map of the user's fingerprint. The Galaxy S10e meanwhile uses an Electrostatic Fingerprint Scanner on the Power button.

Apple has explored various in-display fingerprint scanner solutions in the past, including fingerprint sensing MicroLED displays. So far, Apple has not developed in-screen fingerprint technology for a consumer device, while Touch ID has found a new lease of life on laptop keyboards, specifically in Apple's MacBook Pro with Touch Bar range and the latest MacBook Air.


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Police Can’t Force You to Unlock an iPhone Using Face ID or Touch ID, California Judge Rules

Law enforcement officials can't force smartphone users to unlock their devices using fingerprints or other biometric features such as facial recognition, according to a Northern California court ruling from last week.

The ruling, which was shared this morning by Forbes, was the result of an Oakland investigation into possible extortion. Police officers asked the court for permission to seize multiple devices and then compel the suspects to unlock the devices using biometric authentication.


The court said that there was indeed probable cause to grant a search warrant, but that it was denied because the request to force the suspects to unlock their devices using biometric authentication "funs afoul of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments." From the ruling:
The Government, however, also seeks the authority to compel any individual present at the time of the search to press a finger (including a thumb) or utilize other biometric features, such as facial or iris recognition, for the purposes of unlocking the digital devices found in order to permit a search of the contents as authorized by the search warrant.

For the reasons set forth below, the Court finds that the Government's request funs afoul of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments and the search warrant application must be DENIED.
In further analysis, the court equated biometric authentication to a passcode rather than something like submitting to a DNA swab. It has been previously established that under the Fifth Amendment, a suspect cannot be compelled to provide the passcode of a device.

Biometric features like Touch ID and Face ID, said the court, serve the same purpose as a passcode, securing the owner's content, "pragmatically rendering them functionally equivalent."

The ruling also made an interesting point about the urgency with which law enforcement officials attempt to get a suspect to unlock a device biometrically, because after a device is passcode locked (iPhones will passcode lock after a short period without a biometric unlock), the government can't compel a person to enter the passcode. This urgency essentially confirms that a passcode and a biometric lock are one and the same.
This urgency appears to be rooted in the Government's inability to compel the production of the passcode under the current jurisprudence. It follows, however, that if a person cannot be compelled to provide a passcode because it is a testimonial communication, a person cannot be compelled to provide one's finger, thumb, iris, face, or other biometric feature to unlock that same device.
Biometric authentication measures have been a hotly debated topic, and previous rulings have suggested that Touch ID and Face ID are not equivalent to a passcode, though most rulings have pertained to Touch ID as Face ID is newer.

This has allowed law enforcement to force suspects to unlock their iPhones and other devices using biometric authentication. In October, for example, the FBI was able to force a man accused of child abuse to unlock his iPhone using Face ID.

The California court's most recent ruling could potentially have an impact on future court cases of this type, perhaps putting an end to the practice of forced biometric smartphone unlocking and the belief that a passcode is not equivalent to a biometric lock.

For now, though, Apple has implemented a method to quickly and temporarily disable Touch ID and Face ID by pressing on the side button of recent iPhones five times in quick succession.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.


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One Analyst Thinks the Next iPhone Will Have a USB-C Port, Smaller Notch, and Touch ID Under Display

At least one new iPhone released in 2019 will sport a USB-C port, smaller notch, and the return of Touch ID under the display, according to Jean Baptiste Su, Vice-President and Principal Analyst at consulting firm Atherton Research.


Su shared his prediction in a Forbes column about Apple lowering its revenue guidance for the first quarter of its 2019 fiscal year:
Although we believe that Apple will release a re-designed iPhone X in 2019—with a smaller notch, a fingerprint reader (Touch ID) under the display, and a USB-C port—it will still lack the extensibility (memory card), the battery life, the lightning-fast charging capability, and the camera quality of Android flagship smartphones while being more expensive.
This is the first Apple rumor we've ever heard from Su, and the Forbes contributor network has published its fair share of questionable content about Apple in recent years, so treat this rumor with a healthy dose of skepticism. Many analysts not named Ming-Chi Kuo simply make guesses — and not always educated ones.

Let's imagine these features prove to be true, though, and examine what that would mean for the next iPhone:
  • USB-C: For many years, critics believed Apple would never switch to USB-C on its iOS devices, and then it did exactly that with the 2018 iPad Pro. Will the iPhone follow suit this year? Notorious supply chain publication DigiTimes seems to think so, so Su is not alone in his prediction.

    With many of the latest Macs equipped with USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 ports, which share the USB-C connector design, moving from Lightning to USB-C on the iPhone would create one primary I/O standard across not only Apple devices but hundreds of other electronics.

    The switch from Lightning to USB-C would almost certainly cause an uproar among at least some Apple customers, who already had to replace their docks, cables, and other accessories when Apple switched from its 30-pin dock connector to Lightning back in 2012.

    It's also worth considering that Apple has emphasized a wireless future, so one possibility is that the Lightning connector sticks around until there is no connector whatsoever.

  • Touch ID under the display: This one is hard to believe. Face ID is more secure than Touch ID and seems like Apple's authentication method of choice going forward, starting with the iPhone X and expanding to the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR last year.

    Kuo agrees, noting that Apple doesn't plan to return to Touch ID in any capacity with its 2019 iPhone lineup back in September.

  • Smaller notch: This one is certainly plausible. As the iPhone design continues to evolve, Apple will surely find ways to reduce the size of the notch, even if only by a fraction of a millimeter.

It's only January, so we're still early in the rumor cycle about 2019 iPhones. Over time, we should get a clearer picture about what to expect from more reputable sources like Kuo. To date, we've heard the next versions could feature a triple-lens rear camera, Face ID improvements, slightly thinner displays, and more.

Related Roundup: 2019 iPhones

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Hands-On With the In-Screen Fingerprint Technology in the New OnePlus 6T

Back before the iPhone X came out, there were rumors suggesting Apple would do away with the Home button by implementing Touch ID under the display of the device, preserving the fingerprint sensor while allowing for an edge-to-edge display.

That didn't end up happening and Apple ultimately replaced Touch ID with Face ID, but since then, other companies have implemented in-display fingerprint recognition technology.

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OnePlus recently unveiled its new OnePlus 6T, one of the first commercially available smartphones in the United States that's using in-screen fingerprint recognition technology. We were able to get our hands on one of the new smartphones to see if Apple is missing out on anything with its Face ID implementation.

There are instances where a fingerprint sensor offers benefits over facial recognition. Face ID, for example, doesn't work well when you're laying in bed and the phone is held in landscape or when an iPhone is flat on a desk. With a fingerprint sensor, those are non-issues.

Fingerprint sensors have their own problems, though, and as we discovered with the OnePlus 6T, in-display fingerprint technology isn't as great as it sounds. OnePlus' implementation is slow and inaccurate, a major negative compared to Face ID.

With the OnePlus 6T, you need to make sure to place your finger in the designated spot on the display for your fingerprint to be recognized, and sometimes you need to hold it there for what seems like a long time before it reads the fingerprint. Touch ID and Face ID both unlock almost instantly, so the wait with the OnePlus 6T makes a huge difference.

Had Apple pursued in-display fingerprint technology its implementation might have been better than what OnePlus came out with, and there's still a chance the tech OnePlus is using will improve with software updates or future iterations, but we'll never know if Apple would have done it better.

Apple is all in on Face ID, which is now in both modern iPhones and iPads, and the company has said that other solutions, like in-screen or rear-facing Touch ID, were never under consideration once it decided to pursue Face ID.

Apple's Face ID technology is still so advanced that no other company, OnePlus included, has managed to match it as of yet. And in-display technology still has a ways to go, it seems, with most major Apple competitors instead opting for rear-facing fingerprint sensors as a way to achieve edge-to-edge displays.

Do you miss Touch ID and wish Apple would have worked towards an in-display fingerprint sensor, or do you prefer Face ID? Let us know in the comments.


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Synaptics Creating In-Display Fingerprint Sensors for ‘Top Five OEM’

Synaptics today announced that it has begun mass production of its Clear ID FS9500 optical in-display fingerprint sensors in partnership with a "top five" manufacturer, suggesting at least one major smartphone brand will sport in-display fingerprint sensing technology in the future.

Synaptics has been working on fingerprint sensors capable of reading a fingerprint through display glass for some time now, and its first product, the Clear ID-FS9100, was announced back in late 2016.


The updated Clear ID-FS9500 fingerprint sensors are designed specifically for smartphones with button-free bezel-free "infinity displays" much like the iPhone X or the Samsung Galaxy S8. Synaptics says its fingerprint sensors "magically activate" in the display when necessary, and the company believes its solution is "twice as fast as 3D facial recognition."


The Synaptics fingerprint sensor works well with wet, dry, and cold fingers, and because it's located under the display glass, the sensor is scratch proof and waterproof. In response to facial recognition, which can fail at certain angles, Synaptics points out that its fingerprint solution works when a device is "sitting on the table, at any angle, or while in a car mount."


Synaptics did not specify which smartphone manufacturer it is working with beyond naming a "top five" OEM, so the company's partner is a mystery. While Synaptics is a known Apple supplier that has provided Apple with display components in the past, it's likely Synaptics is referring to an Android manufacturer. Samsung, Oppo, Vivo, and Huawei are all possible partners.

Apple uses its own in-house solution for Touch ID, and it's not yet entirely clear at this point if Apple plans to continue using fingerprint recognition as a biometric authentication method in its devices. Touch ID has been replaced by Face ID in the iPhone X, and rumors suggest Face ID will be the dedicated biometric authentication method in the 2018 iPhones. We're also hearing rumors suggesting Face ID will come to other devices in 2018, like the iPad Pro.

In a September interview, Apple software engineering chief Craig Federighi said Face ID is the future of biometric authentication, and other Apple executives have made similar comments. For those who hold out hope that Apple will continue to use Touch ID in some capacity, however, Federighi did also say that there are certain situations where different biometric techniques or combinations of biometrics could make sense.

Ahead of the release of the iPhone X, rumors indicated Apple was planning to put Touch ID under the display of the iPhone X, with Face ID selected as the fallback option when it did not work out, but Apple executives have since said those rumors were false. Under-display Touch ID was not considered as Apple worked on developing Face ID, and it's not clear if Apple will continue to pursue Touch ID development with Face ID now available.


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