What you need to know

  • Noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes Apple will re-introduce Touch ID as a fingerprint on display (FOD).
  • An iPhone equipped with Face ID and FOD could arrive in 2021.
  • Kuo cites Apple patents, not supply chain activity, in his prediction.

With the iPhone X, Apple ditched Touch ID and stepped into the future of facial biometrics. But come 2021, via MacRumors, the company could re-introduce Touch ID as an on-display fingerprint sensor.

The report comes from Ming-Chi Kuo, who is basing his prediction on Apple patents, not info coming down the supply chain, meaning his info his highly speculative. Still, Kuo appears confident enough that the fingerprint on display (FOD) is worth mentioning.

In terms of technology, we predict that four critical technical issues of FOD will significantly improve in 12-18 months, including module thickness, sensing area, power consumption, and lamination yield rate. Therefore, we believe Apple will launch the new iPhone equipped with both Face ID and FOD to enhance security and convenience thanks to the multi-biometrics.

Kuo says that the two systems will complement, not compete, each other. When one system is inconvenient to use, the other will be available, and vice versa.

Over the past few years, companies have introduced devices with on-display fingerprint sensors while Apple has completely eschewed fingerprint biometrics for Face ID. One of the big reasons Apple's mobile lineup (iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR) uses Face ID is the technology is much more secure.

As we've learned on numerous occasions in the past, just because Apple has filed a patent doesn't mean it'll translate to a real product. Although Kuo believes a future iPhone will adopt FOD, we'd be skeptical now that Apple appears all-in on Face ID.

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