The iPhone 8 design looks stunning, but new information has revealed it is set to come with a controversial cost…
Aside from a hefty price rise, a new report from JPMorgan analyst Rod Hall states that Apple will remove Touch ID fingerprint recognition from the iPhone 8 completely. In its place will come a front-facing 3D laser scanner for facial recognition.
Hall says the benefits of facial recognition over fingerprint recognition are that it is widely regarded as being more secure (something banks would prefer as mobile payment services expand) and that it will work well in wet conditions where Touch ID can be less reliable.
Even iPhone 8 concepts until now have imagined a virtual home button on the display. Image credit: ConceptsiPhone
The flip side is that facial recognition requires a more deliberate unlocking procedure of holding the phone up to your face which can be inconvenient (especially when walking) and may make users more self-conscious than fingerprint unlocking. Facial recognition can also be less reliable for users who wear glasses, contact lenses or sunglasses though this is something the iris scanner in Samsung’s ill-fated Galaxy Note 7 aced.
Hall also says Apple’s migration to facial recognition technology may have another long term motivation:
“One obvious and potentially most compelling use would be AR/VR experiences in which the user’s hands and other real world objects are being scanned and integrated into a field of view provided by the iPhone mounted into a Google Daydream-like headset. This would open up many interesting entertainment and gaming experiences not available today and might give Apple something extra in an AR/VR accessory compared to Google and others.”
The Galaxy Note 7 iris scanner worked well, demonstrating the potential of replacements for fingerprint sensor technology. Image credit: Samsung
Then again cutting-edge technologies don’t come cheap and Hall says the scanner will add $10-15 more per module compared to the well-established Touch ID. Coupled with the iPhone 8’s widely reported switch to an OLED display and all new chassis, the changes are expected to push the iPhone 8’s starting price over $1,000.
Consequently, Apple’s priority will be making sure consumers believe the iPhone 8 is worth such a hefty outlay. Samsung’s Galaxy S8 price rise will help here but with wave after wave of cheap (and increasingly competitive) Chinese smartphones available, the iPhone 8 will need to be very special indeed.
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