Due to Apple’s (AAPL) obsession with privacy and data security, it might bring a kind of two-factor biometric authentication to iPhones. Apple plans to use an in-display fingerprint sensor in the 2021 iPhone.
Apple’s in-display fingerprint sensor
According to famed Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple plans to bring back the TouchID feature to the iPhone. Unlike in the past, the company will implement the new TouchID technology using an in-display fingerprint sensor.
Previously, the TouchID feature on the iPhone was available through the home button. However, iPhones don’t have a home button anymore. As a result, Apple is reintroducing fingerprint authentication. For the iPhone, the in-display fingerprint sensor will start appearing in 2021, according to Kuo.
Two-factor biometric authentication
Beginning with iPhone X in 2017, Apple switched to FaceID from TouchID for biometric authentication in iPhones. The company hasn’t included fingerprint scanning technology in any new iPhone for the last two years. However, Apple plans to make iPhones that will have face and fingerprint technologies for biometric authentication. The company hopes that two-factor biometric authentication will enhance the product’s appeal and boost sales.
Currently, Apple’s iPhone business isn’t doing well. iPhone revenues fell 12% year-over-year to $26 billion in the June quarter. The iPhone hasn’t contributed as much to Apple’s top line. Apple’s iPhone business contributed 48% of Apple’s total revenues in the June quarter, down from 55% the previous year. The iPhone business has typically been Apple’s major revenue source. The iPhone usually contributing over half of Apple’s total revenues. As a result, Apple needs to reinvigorate its diminishing business.
In-display fingerprint sensor brings more privacy protection
As Apple expands its services business, it wants to expand customers’ data protection. The company plans to bring two-factor biometric authentication to the iPhone. With both face and fingerprint authentication, the iPhone will be a more secure and private device. iPhones would be more attractive to privacy-conscious consumers.
While Facebook (FB) and Google (GOOGL) struggle with privacy issues, Apple has made privacy a major selling point for its products. For example, privacy has become a key focus for the company as it markets its Apple Card coming later this month. Apple partnered with Goldman Sachs (GS) to create Apple Card—a unique kind of credit card. Although Goldman Sach will provide credit for Apple Card, it won’t be able to know how people use the card. Apple is guarding customers’ privacy.
There will be a digital version of the Apple Card on the iPhone. Therefore, adding fingerprint checks to face verification for the iPhone would tighten customers’ privacy protection.
Qualcomm’s fingerprint technology
Apple plans to use Qualcomm’s (QCOM) ultrasonic fingerprint sensor for the iPhone’s in-display TouchID feature. Samsung (SSNLF) also uses an ultrasonic fingerprint reader in its Galaxy S10 smartphone. Some smartphone makers have used optical sensors for an in-display fingerprint scanner in their products. However, ultrasonic fingerprint sensors are more secure than optical sensors. For Apple, security comes first. As a result, Apple wants to go with an ultrasonic fingerprint sensor for the in-display TouchID feature in the iPhone. In April, Apple and Qualcomm ended their legal battle, which cleared the way for Apple to enjoy Qualcomm’s advanced technologies.
Apple wants to include an in-display fingerprint sensor in the iPhone once the technology has matured. Some issues with in-display fingerprint sensor technologies include high power consumption and production difficulties. However, Apple expects the problems will be resolved by the time it adopts the technology in its 2021 iPhones.