With the iPhone 13 launch rumored to be just about a month away (or sooner), more tidbits are surfacing about the features Apple may include — and which ones may get left behind.
The latest report comes from Mark Gurman’s Power on newsletter (opens in new tab) for Bloomberg, and he reiterates what we’ve heard from other sources: that Apple won’t be including in-screen Touch ID for the new iPhones. It’s one more reason why some may want to wait for the iPhone 14 instead.
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As first reported by 9to5Mac (opens in new tab), this is how Gurman lays out the bad news:
“While Apple had tested in-screen Touch ID for the next flagship iPhones, it won’t make the cut this year. I believe Apple is all-in on Face ID for its higher-end iPhones and its long-term goal is to implement Face ID in the display itself.”
That’s a great goal to have, but it ignores the more immediate need for Touch ID in the iPhone 13 for this generation. The CDC continues to recommend that even fully vaccinated people wear masks indoors (opens in new tab) in areas of substantial or high transmission. Unfortunately, right now that represents a whooping 95% of the country.
If Gurman’s reporting is accurate, the iPhone 13 will continue to rely on Face ID only through its TrueDepth sensor, which simply does not work when you’re wearing a mask. And unless Apple finds a way to identify people by the eyes and up, iPhone 13 buyers will need to enter their passcode each time they want to use their phone in public while wearing a mask.
If you own an Apple Watch, iOS 14.5 and up enables users to unlock their iPhones with ease while wearing a mask. But there’s lots of iPhone owners who don’t own an Apple Watch 6, Apple Watch SE or earlier Apple Watch.
Gurman goes on to say that Apple will provide one of two options for authentication on the iPhone going forward. For lower-end phones like the upcoming iPhone SE 3, Face ID could be implemented as it is now on current iPhones (notch and all). But for Apple’s flagship phones, Face ID could be built right into the display, such as for the iPhone 14.
Based on the rumors, the iPhone 13 lineup does appear to have a lot of other upgrades in store. These could include a faster and more efficient A15 Bionic processor, big camera upgrades like portrait mode video and astrophotography and improved 5G connectivity. Plus, we should see a smaller notch.
The iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max will likely be more exciting, as they are expected to feature always-on displays with 120Hz refresh rates. Fortunately, all four new iPhones are tipped to get bigger batteries as well.
It’s just a bummer that Apple may not include Touch ID in the new iPhone 13. I would have even gladly accepted that functionality integrated into the power button, just like the current iPad Air.