A fingerprint scanner might once again be part of Apple’s iPhone line, according to a reliable source. Touch ID might appear in 2021 alongside Face ID, not in place of it.
Also, Apple reportedly has a folding screen in the prototype stage.
The return of Touch ID to iPhone
Cupertino is testing an in-screen fingerprint scanner, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. It might be used in the iOS handset coming this autumn.
Touch ID was a highlight of iPhone for years, back when the fingerprint-recognition system was embedded into the Home button. But Apple dropped that button in the iPhone X, going with Face ID instead. Unfortunately, facial recognition is less convenient when people regularly wear face masks.
However, Gurman says Face ID isn’t going anywhere. Touch ID would be an additional option. Apple argues that its system for recognizing faces is far more accurate than a fingerprint scanner.
Also, Apple is still only testing the hardware. Previous unconfirmed reports indicate Cupertino has been investigating an in-screen fingerprint scanner since at least 2019. And it hasn’t happened yet.
Other than this possible change, the 2021 iPhone supposedly will offer only a few tweaks over its immediate predecessor. Even Apple engineers are reportedly calling it an “S” upgrade. This harks back to the years when the company regularly followed big redesigns with minor updates and an “S” added to the iPhone model’s name.
Apple working on a folding iPhone
Bloomberg also provides an update on the possibility of a folding iPhone. “Apple Inc. has begun early work on an iPhone with a foldable screen,” reports Gurman. The goal is to fit a larger display into a smaller device. But this won’t happen for years.
Gurman built a solid reputation for correctly predicting Apple’s future moves, so this serves as possible confirmation that a folding iPhone is in preliminary development. But there’s been plenty of earlier evidence. Company engineers keep filing for patents related related to flexible handsets. Just in 2020, there was work on a “self-healing” display, new hinge designs and bendable batteries.
Recently, an unconfirmed report indicated Apple is testing two different folding iPhone designs in Asia. But the Bloomberg reporter says that’s not true — the company hasn’t gone beyond a flexible display.
Gurman has an 89.1% accuracy ranking on AppleTrack, which rates tipsters on how well they predict Apple’s future actions. That gives him one of the best records. But keep in mind that he’s saying Apple is testing a new iPhone with Touch ID, and prototyping a bendable display — not that these products are definitely going to be released.