January 23, 2017 -
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is predicting that the upcoming iPhone 8 will feature facial recognition as well as a new design to support an OLED display with 3D Touch capability, according to a report by Mac Rumors.
Kuo revealed his iPhone 8 predictions in a new research report, which also states that Apple may replace its current FPCB sensor with a film sensor offering film higher sensitivity in an effort to improve the 3D Touch user experience.
He says that the fingerprint recognition system will “ultimately be replaced by a facial recognition system,” but added that “if the technical challenges cannot be overcome… a combination of fingerprint and facial recognition is another possible solution.”
“Judging by the bio-recognition patents that Apple has applied for, we believe it is leaning toward facial recognition technology rather than iris recognition,” Kuo writes. “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.”
Apple previously applied for patents covering technologies for locking and unlocking a mobile device using facial recognition in March 2011 and July 2012.
In addition, Kuo believes that Apple is developing a new “under panel” Touch ID technology for the new iPhone “to complement its full-screen (zero bezel) form factor design and to enhance transactions security”.
He says the “under panel” placement is necessary because the current “under glass” design of fingerprint recognition does not support full-screen form factor designs.
Considering this, Kuo believes that Apple will switch from the existing capacitive-type to an optical-type system.
Although the technology is still in its early stages of development, Kuo said that Apple will be able to convince OLED panel makers to provide bespoke designs for the system to successfully work.
Kuo also stated that Apple’s new system will likely drive a “paradigm shift” in the application of biometric identification in smartphones.