Apple iPhone 8 To Reportedly Replace Touch ID With Two-Factor Fingerprint And Facial Recognition

Apple has received criticism for not injecting more innovation into its iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus handsets, and the same will probably be true of the inevitable iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus variants. However, Apple will have an opportunity to shake things up when it releases its iPhone 8 and one of the things it might be considering is revising its Touch ID system to combine fingerprint recognition with facial recognition for enhanced security.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo states in a new research report that he expects Apple to go this route, though not only for security purposes. Revising the current Touch ID system would be out of necessity, as he also expects Apple to swap out the current LCD panel for a flexible OLED screen with 3D Touch. Previous rumors pointed to LG building a curved OLED panel for the iPhone 8.

iPhone 7 Plus

"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," Kuo stated in his report.

Kuo points out that the existing "under glass" construction of the fingerprint sensor would not work well with a full-screen form factor design, hence why an "under panel" placement is needed. This will set in motion a transition from fingerprint recognition to facial recognition.

"However, if the technical challenges cannot be overcome, we believe a combination of fingerprint and facial recognition is another possible solution," Kuo states.

Apple has filed patents that suggest it is favoring facial recognition over iris scanning. If that is the route Apple is going, it will have to overcome several technical challenges, including the development of reliable algorithms, the iPhone's overall hardware design, and the time consuming process of a build-out database for verification and authentication.

"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," Kuo says.

There have been several rumors surrounding the iPhone 8 at this early stage, including one suggesting Apple will switch to a ceramic housing and another claiming that wireless charging will finally be introduced.