Apple is reportedly testing an in-screen fingerprint reader, one of the key upgrades the company has planned for this year’s iPhones, according to Bloomberg.
Currently, iPhone users can unlock their phones with a passcode or Face ID. (The second-gen iPhone SE, the cheapest iPhone, is the last iPhone in the lineup with a physical Touch ID button instead of Face ID.) Most Android phones let users unlock their phones with the same tools, plus a fingerprint reader or a swipe pattern, but Apple phased out its fingerprint sensors in 2017 when it launched the iPhone X — which makes it sort of a big deal that it could be coming back.
As Bloomberg points out, a fingerprint reader on your phone would be more practical than Face ID amidst the ongoing pandemic, because you wouldn’t have to pull your mask down to let the camera identify you correctly (or let the iPhone attempt to scan your masked face only to pop up the passcode option). It’s a cumbersome process. A fingerprint reader somewhere on the phone would be a godsend right about now.
Apple has no plans to remove its facial recognition scanner, as it’s tied to a lot of different augmented reality and camera apps.
Apple is also reportedly experimenting with the idea of removing the Lightning port and replacing it with wireless charging, depending on the iPhone model. Such a move would not be entirely unexpected now that the latest iPhone offers Apple’s new MagSafe wireless charging technology.
And, of course, it wouldn’t be an iPhone rumour cycle without hints as to what Apple plans to do about the latest smartphone trend: foldable displays. According to the same Bloomberg report, a foldable iPhone might actually happen. Apple has reportedly developed a prototype of a foldable screen for internal testing with an invisible hinge instead of a more obvious one separating two sides of the display. The screen sizes are currently all over the map.
Previous rumours suggested Apple had developed a full prototype of its foldable, but that appears not to be the case. This latest rumour tracks with the last big one in September, which said Apple ordered foldable display samples from Samsung — which also happens to make its own foldable phones.
We likely won’t see a foldable iPhone for years, but an iPhone 13 with in-display fingerprint sensor might debut this spring.