Apple has big plans for its upcoming iPhone 8, and it will change the way you interact with its flagship in a big way.
The iPhone will likely ditch the Touch ID button. Credit: Denys Prykhodov/Shutterstock
Apple is expected to come out with a major new iPhone release this year — either called the iPhone 8 or maybe the iPhone X, if the company makes a nod to the phone's 10th anniversary. The next iPhone will reportedly feature an all-new glass design and come with a curved OLED screen instead of the standard LCD display Apple has used for all of its previous iPhones, according to reports.
Should Apple opt for this new design, it will mean that the display will nearly cover the entire face of the iPhone, leaving no room for a physical home button. In its place, Apple may opt for a virtual fingerprint sensor that can replace its physical Touch ID sensor, but still allow you to authorize payments via Apple Pay and unlock your device.
Instead of working with a third-party company like Synaptics or Qualcomm to deliver fingerprint sensing in its iPhone 8, the company will reportedly go it alone. Apple will use its own Authentec algorithm and glass identification technology from a company called Privaris to replace Touch ID, Digitimes reports, citing sources who claim to have knowledge of its plans.
Some reports have suggested that Apple's technology would allow you to tap anywhere on the screen to activate Touch ID, while others have said that Apple is planning a "function area" in its screen that would house the Touch ID features.
Opting for its own solution instead of turning to existing technologies as the Digitimes report suggests would be a notable move by Apple. Both Synaptics and Qualcomm have already developed technologies that can identify fingerprints through a touchscreen, which would ostensibly provide a quick solution to Apple's problem. However, Apple wants to create its own technology using its own algorithms to differentiate its iPhone 8 from all other devices. It's a tack Apple has used quite successfully with its Touch ID physical button.
Beyond the algorithm and glass identification technology, Apple might also use ultrasound to determine whether a person's fingerprint is authorized to interact with the device, according to Digitimes' sources.
In other words, get ready for a big iPhone update this year.