Apple Could Replace Touch ID With New Facial Recognition Technology: Analyst

Apple Could Replace Touch ID With New Facial Recognition Technology: Analyst

All eyes are on the smartphone industry this year, with one manufacturer trying to outdo the other. Well, at least that’s what we have from analysts and the rumour mill and thanks to this it does look like an interesting year for the smartphone after lagging behind for about 2 years now. KGI Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who is known for his predictions, released another interesting research report, and as always it gives iPhone fans plenty to ponder over.

First reported by MacRumours, the new research paper outlines two new details. The first bit is to do with problems that come with using an OLED display panel while the second part looks into the use case for two biometric identification systems on the upcoming iPhone. Keeping Apple’s bezel-less front face design in mind, both details somehow end up crossing paths.

As opposed to every other flagship smartphone manufacturer out there, Apple is new to OLED displays, especially the flexible OLED types. More importantly, Apple also has another elephant in the room, 3D Touch. It’s a pressure sensitive technology that forces users to press down (pretty hard that too) on their iPhone 6s and iPhone 7 displays to view peek and pop menus, shortcuts, previews and widgets and this apparently leads to problems when you combine it with a flexible OLED panel.

Apple iPhone 6S Plus (16)

Kuo in his latest research report states that Apple is working on a new design that will provide a better structural support, also allowing the use of 3D Touch.

“Apple may switch to a film sensor from the current FPCB sensor in order to provide better 3D Touch user experience, as a film sensor offers higher sensitivity. Also, we expect the new OLED iPhone will come with a flexible OLED panel. To avoid deforming the form factor of the flexible OLED panel from touch operation pressure, a metal structural part will be placed under the film sensor to provide more robust structural support.” said Kuo in his report.

The next topic of discussion that is closely related to the display, is the placement of the Touch ID sensor. Kuo explains that using the current ‘under glass’ design of fingerprint recognition does not meet the requirements of the new front face and the bezel-less display. He claims that Apple will need to go in for an ‘under panel’ system instead.

What the upcoming Apple iPhone could look like. Image: Concept by Handy Abovergleich (

With an fingerprint reader under the display and then the glass screen, Apple will have to move away from the capacitive type sensor (touch based) and go in for an optical type (non-touch) system instead. Nobody has used the system so far and it is in the early stages of development meaning, that OLED panel makers will have to provide some top notch designs for the Touch ID system to work.

Lastly, there’s this facial recognition system that recently surfaced online. Kuo believes that Apple may eventually remove Touch ID entirely and rely solely on its new facial recognition system for enhanced security and transactions. But since the system has yet to debut, Apple may go ahead with both Touch ID and facial recognition on some iPhones until it perfects the technology.

“Judging by the bio-recognition patents that Apple has applied for, we believe it is leaning toward facial recognition technology rather than iris recognition. However, we note that the technical challenges of facial recognition include: (1) algorithms; (2) hardware design; and (3) the build-out of a database for verification and authentication, which could be time consuming. As such, before Apple can fully replace the fingerprint system with facial recognition, a combination of the two steps of bio-recognition could be a valid solution for enhancing transactions security.” said the report.

Apple is expected to announce 3 iPhone models this year. The 3rd unit is expected to pack in a 5.8-inch display and will be a radical redesign with exotic technologies. Tagged as ‘Ferrari’, the 10th anniversary iPhone is expected to feature an OLED display that stretches from edge to edge, a glass body (with wireless charging) and include new facial recognition features. Going by the current rumours the device is also expected to be the platform to kickstart Apple’s augmented reality (AR) applications.


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