iPhone 8 to bring custom ultrasound fingerprint scanner

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touchid
It won't need a physical Home button.
Photo: Apple

Apple might be doing away with the physical Home button for iPhone 8, but Touch ID is going nowhere.

Sources in the company’s supply chain say Apple is working on a custom fingerprint scanner that uses ultrasound technology, which will be integrated into the iPhone 8’s OLED display.

Apple is said to be dropping the Home button to make room for a mini Touch Bar with contextual buttons — similar to the MacBook Pro’s. Some rumors claim the fingerprint scanner could be swapped for alternative biometric security solutions, like an iris scanner.

But according to a new report from DigitimesTouch ID is staying put. Rather than being built into a button, Apple’s custom fingerprint reader will utilize its own AuthenTec algorithm and Pravaris glass identification technology that allows it to become part of the iPhone’s display.

“Apple’s in-house developed fingerprint ID solution will be fabricated at TSMC’s 12-inch line using 65nm process technology, said the sources.” In place of traditional fingerprint scanning methods, it will use “biometric authentication systems such as ultrasound.”

Mass production of the iPhone 8 is “unlikely” to start until September of this year as a result of this custom fingerprint scanner, the report adds. This could mean fans have to wait as late as November to get their hands on Apple’s 10th anniversary smartphone.

It should be noted that Digitimes has a mixed track record when it comes to Apple rumors. However, news that Apple is working on an alternative fingerprint scanning solution that allows it to do away with a button has also been reported by reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

Other features we’re expecting to get with iPhone 8 include wireless charging, Apple’s next-generation A-series processor, and an improved iSight camera. If indeed the device is delayed, it could still be announced in September; we’ll just have to wait longer for its launch.