Is Apple Ditching Fingerprints for Facial Recognition? – Barron’s
Apple shares keep heading higher, and that’s brought the iPhone rumor mill out in full force. The buzz lately is that Apple will make augmented reality the big selling point of its next iPhone. But one analyst thinks the masses have been misinterpreting signs from supply channels — the collection of companies that make parts for the iPhone.
The rationale behind the AR theory is that supplier hubbub indicates Apple will introduce 3D laser scanning on one or more of its upcoming phones. 3D sensing can be used to enable AR, a technology that allows people to overlay virtual items over their real-life surroundings.
That might be the goal for Apple down the line, but JPMorgan’s Rod Hall thinks 3D sensing will serve an arguably less exciting role in the iPhone 8: facial recognition. The new iPhone is expected to have an organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screen from edge to edge, meaning there would be no place for the current TouchID home button. Instead, you’d unlock your phone just by looking at it, he predicts.
Facial recognition would make it easier to unlock your phone in the rain, since TouchID fails with wet fingers. And it might get more people to use Apple Pay, Hall wrote in a research note Tuesday. (It’s not clear to us, though, that security or ease of use are really what’s holding people back from using Apple Pay).
While there’s some speculation that not all of Apple’s new phones will have every new feature, Hall thinks that facial scanning could come to everyone. Many analysts predict that Apple will come out with three iPhones this fall: slightly better versions of the current 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models, plus a fancier phone that’s even larger. That supersized phone may be the only one to feature an OLED screen, but the facial scanning could get broader use. Hall wrote that “supplier indications suggest more unit volume than inclusion on just the 5.85-inch OLED phone.”
Big Picture: While AR is rumored to be the big new iPhone feature this year, one analyst says we may get facial recognition instead.