Apple’s upcoming iPhone update might lose a key security feature it’s been relying upon for years.
The tech giant has decided against including a Touch ID fingerprint sensor in this year’s high-end iPhone, The Wall Street Journal is reporting, citing people who claim to have knowledge of its plans. If true, the iPhone, believed to be known as the iPhone 8 or iPhone Edition, would be the first flagship Apple handset since 2013 not include the feature.
According to the Journal‘s sources, Apple had hoped to include the fingerprint sensor in the iPhone 8 and place it under the smartphone’s screen. But after the feature proved unreliable, Apple ultimately decided to remove it. In its place, Apple will use a new facial-recognition feature to verify a person’s identity, the report says.
Apple (AAPL) has been rumored for months to be working on a big iPhone update this year. The big iPhone update could include a new all-glass design, and a screen that nearly entirely covers the smartphone’s face. By offering such a big display, Apple’s design leaves no room for the physical home button that the company has relied on since the iPhone’s inception in 2007.
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Apple had reportedly hoped to bake the home button’s fingerprint sensor, called Touch ID, into the screen and create a virtual sensor to verify a person’s identity. But like Samsung (SSNLF), which had hoped to do the same in its flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8, Apple seemingly couldn’t get it to work the way it had hoped.
That has been the general consensus over the last several weeks, as iPhone rumors have continued to pile up. And although Apple has remained tight-lipped about its plans, the company is said to have bundled a facial sensor in the iPhone 8 that could take the place of the fingerprint sensor and work just as effectively.
According to reports, the facial sensor would automatically scan a person’s face and allow the person access to the device’s software and data. It’s also possible, though unconfirmed, that the feature could be used to activate Apple’s mobile payment service Apple Pay.
Apple is expected to announce its new iPhones at a press event on Tuesday, September 12 at the Steve Jobs Theater inside its new Apple Park headquarters.