Several weeks ago one of Apple’s key component partners, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, or TSMC, claimed that its under-display fingerprint sensors were ready to go into production. This was at a time when speculation was rife about Apple not having ‘cracked’ the technological problem of embedding the sensor under the glass and under the OLED display itself.
Since then, there have been rumors that this is not the case. The latest information comes from a research note by KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst Andy Hargreaves, who says that Apple is yet to find a way to implement Touch ID on iPhone 8.
The other two models – iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus – will have the readers because of “smaller industrial designs,” but the flagship iPhone 8 may drop the fingerprint reader altogether and fully rely on facial recognition via 3D sensing.
This could throw a massive wrench in the works of Apple Pay, which depends on Touch ID to authenticate mobile wallet and web payments. Hargreaves also suggests:
“We do not believe facial recognition would be initially qualified as an acceptable verification method for Apple Pay. While Apple could achieve this over time, the likelihood for an initial lack of Apple Pay could adversely affect demand.”
Apple Pay is already struggling to stay relevant to iPhone users and their digital payment needs, and if the latest flagship iPhone 8 won’t be able to support Apple Pay, it could put a damper on any growth Apple Pay was expecting to see this year.
Of course, none of this information can be taken as absolute fact. It’s quite possible that Apple would be willing to sacrifice a month or two on the production side to get this tech to work properly on iPhone 8, their most crucial release in ten years. Also, it’s quite possible that the tech is, in fact, ready to go into production as the earlier TSMC report showed.