Were homing in on a likely fall iPhone rollout and the rumors
are flying. John Gruber, from a piece titled iPhone silly season:
With software Apple can (and does) play a bit fast and loose.
iOS 11.0 wont be baked until late August. But software can (and
always is) patched. Hardware doesnt work like that. Many of the
decisions related to the hardware on this years new iPhones were
made two years ago. (And there are decisions being made now for
2019s new iPhones.)
Is there a 3D laser sensor on the back of the new iPhone? Is
there a Touch ID sensor? I dont know. But Apple knows, and has
known for a while. Months, even.
If the new iPhone ships without a Touch ID sensor and there is
no replacement authentication technology that is as good or better
than Touch ID that would be a dead canary in the coal mine.
From this Bloomberg piece by Mark Gurman:
For its redesigned iPhone, set to go on sale later this year,
Apple is testing an improved security system that allows users to
log in, authenticate payments, and launch secure apps by scanning
their face, according to people familiar with the product. This is
powered by a new 3-D sensor, added the people, who asked not to be
identified discussing technology thats still in development. The
company is also testing eye scanning to augment the system, one of
the people said.
A move to add 3D face scanning is one thing. A move away from
Touch ID is another thing entirely. Apple proved they are willing
to (have the Courage to?) make a major hardware shift, forcibly
doing away with one technology (the 3.5 mm headphone jack) to usher
in a newer technology (Bluetooth headphones).
Will this be the case with Touch ID? As John Gruber says, that
decision has likely already been made.
My two cents? As good or better than Touch ID has to address
accessibility. If I am visually impaired, I can unlock my iPhone
with my finger in the dark. An edge case, certainly, but one that
is a bit of a litmus test for any Touch ID replacement.
In a low light environment, will I be able to unlock my iPhone
with a facial scan? If I am in a meeting, I can subtly unlock my
iPhone with my finger. Will I have to hold my next generation
iPhone in front of my face to accomplish the same thing?...