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Not Dead Yet: Touch ID May Return in Next iPhone

Apple might have nixed the Touch ID in its iPhone X and suggested that its new Face ID is superior in every way, but that doesn't mean its fingerprint sensor won't make its way to handsets next year.

Credit: Apple

(Image credit: Apple)

In a note to investors on Tuesday (Sept. 19), KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said that Apple could still be planning on delivering its Touch ID in the smartphones it will release in 2018. And that Touch ID feature would be of the virtual variety, allowing the company to bake it into the iPhone's screen and not force it to use a physical button to handle biometrics.


However, Kuo, whose note was earlier reported on by 9to5Mac, said that Apple's plan to invest in Touch ID will be predicated on how well its Face ID is accepted by its customers. If Face ID is viewed as a superior option, Apple will simply double down on that technology and bring it to every iPhone it sells starting next year. If Face ID is a problem, Apple could find a way to get Touch ID back to its iPhones.

At its press event earlier this month, Apple discussed the virtues of Face ID. The company said that its facial-recognition technology is fast and is far more secure than its Touch ID fingerprint sensor. Apple spent considerable time explaining why Face ID is an important — and significant — step forward for the company's security tools.

However, Apple was rumored to have been working on a virtual fingerprint sensor for iPhone X prior to the device's unveiling. Like Samsung, which had been hoping to offer the same feature, Apple reportedly couldn't get it to work. According to Kuo, it was due to Apple's 3D Touch technology, which makes the screen thicker and thus harder for a virtual sensor to identify a fingerprint.

Although Face ID appears to be a nice step forward for Apple, Kuo suggests the company isn't positive that consumers will take to it. So, it's now reserving the possibility of bringing back Touch ID if things don't go well.

Don Reisinger is a communications strategist, consultant, and copywriter who has also written for many leading technology and business publications including CNET, Fortune Magazine and The New York Times, as well as Tom's Guide.