iPhone 13 could combine in-display fingerprint sensor with Face ID
Apple continues its trend of being a couple of years behind the curve. After having its Face ID gambit ruined by face masks, the iPhone maker finally seems ready to give in to consumer demand for in-display fingerprint scanning. Multiple reports now suggest that Apple might incorporate in-display fingerprint scanning to work in conjunction with existing Face ID hardware for the upcoming iPhone 13.
Noted Apple analyst predicts return of Touch ID in 2021
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo revealed back in 2019 that Apple has been working on implementing hybrid Face ID and Touch ID solutions. That was before face masks made Face ID a public health risk, as removing the mask increases the risk of COVID-19 infection. Kuo had predicted the return of Touch ID this year and, sure enough, several reliable tipsters now echo this sentiment.
Apple might use inferior optical fingerprint tech instead of ultrasonic
A WSJ report cites a former Apple employee confirming that the company has been working on an optical in-display fingerprint scanning system. This is a major departure from Samsung's ultrasound-based fingerprint sensor, which is based on Qualcomm's proprietary technology. Optical fingerprint scanners are considered inferior, both from the usability and security perspective, as they can be fooled with high-resolution images of fingerprints.
Hybrid optical-capacitive setup might prove to be good enough
Ultrasonic fingerprint readers are more secure due to their ability to read depth information, while also being tolerant to wet fingers. Their prohibitive cost has restricted them to a few Samsung flagships so far. However, Apple could combine optical scanning with its existing capacitive fingerprint acquisition to create a more secure system. Combining these technologies in an in-display configuration isn't a trivial affair, though.
Kuo begs to differ; bets on ultrasonic sensor instead
Kuo, however, maintains that Apple will use Qualcomm's ultrasonic sensor instead. This should allow the iPhone 13 to assign a much larger portion of the display for the purpose, while also living up to Apple's standards of security. These conflicting rumors are also punctuated by separate speculation of a side-mounted fingerprint sensor, just like Apple has already implemented in the iPad Air.