Apple rumored to be retiring fingerprint biometrics on iPhones
The next generation of iPhones may not come with Apple’s biometric fingerprint sensor TouchID, according to whispers from the Chinese social media network Weibo.
Most of the equipment used to manufacture the chips required for the iPhone’s version of Touch ID has reportedly been shut down, pointing towards the conclusion that Apple will no longer be unlocking phones with fingerprint identification, MacRumors reported citing an anonymous Weibo account.
The news comes despite earlier rumors pointing towards Apple’s plans to debut under-display fingerprint technology around 2026.
“Recently, there have been reports that Apple will use fingerprint recognition on its new iPhone. The fingerprint recognition chip is a special 8-inch technology, and most of these devices that were originally used for Apple’s fingerprint recognition have been turned off and sealed. Basically, Apple will not use fingerprint recognition as the direction for unlocking phones,” Weibo user Mobile Chip Expert writes.
The source has some credence, according to MacRumors. They were the first to report that the iPhone 14 would retain the A15 Bionic chip, with the A16 being exclusive to the iPhone 14 Pro models.
No news has been announced about changes in TouchID technology in the iPad, MacBook or iMac keyboard. Back in June, Apple was reportedly granted a U.S. patent for fingerprint biometrics on Macs.
Iris biometric patents
Meanwhile, the Cupertino, California-based company has filed two new patent applications to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office related to its biometric authenticator Optic ID under the codes 20230379564 and 20230377302.
The former describes a “Biometric Authentication System” relying on the “iris, eye, periorbital region, and/or other regions of the person’s face” to authenticate the individual and detect spoofing attempts. The latter addresses “Flexible Illumination for Imaging Systems,” with the flexibility referring to using a different lighting configuration to perform biometric authentication.
Iris biometric technology Optic ID will be used in Apple’s mixed reality headset Vision Pro which was revealed in June. The headset is expected to ship early next year for US$3,499. The new patents are a part of the Vision Pro’s enrollment process, according to Patently Apple.