A new rumor is making the rounds at several Chinese websites this week claiming Apple is considering a new iPhone model specific for the Chinese market. The new model would ditch the Face ID sensor in favor of an in-screen fingerprint reader according to the report. Apple is famous for its high margins on its products, and it is reluctant to cut prices to maintain sales at the expense of its margins.
What Apple often prefers to do is beat on suppliers to reduce its cost on components used inside its devices. The new rumor claims that one of the places that Apple is looking to reduce its cost on the iPhone and compete more effectively in China is by eliminating the Face ID sensor. Apple is facing very stiff price competition from Huawei and Oppo inside China, and its devices aren't selling as strongly as it wants in the critical Chinese market.
While Touch ID is said to be under consideration with an in-screen sensor, Apple is also said to be considering a sensor on the back of the phone. With the price of iPhones soaring and consumers holding onto their old devices for longer periods, consumers in the U.S. and other parts of the world might welcome a cheaper device that features Touch ID.
The rumor is being treated with lots of salt right now and isn't considered reliable. Noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has a long record of accuracy with his Apple rumors, has stated that for 2020 Apple's new iPhone will have 5.4-inch and 6.7-inch devices that both feature 5G connectivity and Face ID. Apple's 2019 iPhone line has been tipped by case renderings to have square camera bumps on the back that house three cameras; Face ID is expected.