Rumor: Apple will replace fingerprint scanner on next iPhone with 3D camera

Apple would replace the fingerprint scanner on the next iPhone with a 3D camera with facial recognition that should unlock the phone in a few milliseconds. To work, users do not need to point the phone at their face.

The technology also works when the phone is on the table and users do not keep their face directly above it, claims financial news agency Bloomberg based on anonymous sources. The Bloomberg article is by Mark Gurman, who in recent years has often shown that he has reliable sources within Apple.

Apple is also testing an ‘eye scanner’ to make the technology more reliable. This presumably concerns an iris scanner such as can also be found on the Samsung Galaxy S8 and as Microsoft first applied it to its Lumia 950 phones. Due to the small bezels on the S8 and the presumed iPhone 8, there is little space on the housing for the fingerprint scanner.

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who is considered reliable, also mentions that the next iPhone will not have a fingerprint scanner. In that case, the 3D camera would not only function for unlocking the phone, but also as authentication for the Apple Pay payment system.

There is a chance that the fingerprint scanner will return to the iPhone in a later version. Chip designer Qualcomm showed last week a fingerprint scanner that works behind an OLED screen. However, that technique is not yet in mass production.

Unlike all previous iPhones, the iPhone 8 would not have an LCD, but an OLED screen. Thanks to the narrow bezels, Apple would have a 5.8″ display in a phone barely larger than the current 4.7″ version of the iPhone 7. It would also have a display with a variable frame rate up to 120Hz, like the new iPad Pro with 10.5 “screen. In addition, Apple wants to improve battery life by making a separate processor for AI tasks.

In addition to the iPhone with OLED screen, there will also be two successors for the iPhone 7 series this fall, according to Kuo. They have LCDs with diagonals of 4.7″ and 5.5″. The analyst estimates that the manufacturer will announce its new smartphones in September. The LCD models would come out in September, the iPhone with OLED screen would be in stores in October.

Mockup of what the upcoming iPhones could look like. Source: iDropNews