Apple is preparing to launch a new series of iPhones on September 7, but it may not do much to shore up its reputation as a mobile biometrics pioneer.
The date of the launch event comes by way of Bloomberg and its anonymous sources “with knowledge of the matter,” while BGR concluded that the official release date of the iPhones is likely to be September 16, based on Apple’s track record.
The schedule sets up the iPhone 14 for an unusually early launch with respect to the calendar year, and – as Forbes’ Gordon Kelly notes – that’s something of a surprise, given that a global chip shortage has been disrupting mobile device supply chains.
Renowned TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has an interesting guess as to why Apple is rushing its new iPhone to market. “The global recession risk is still growing and unpredictable, so announcing/shipping the iPhone as soon as possible may minimize the impact of recession risk on demand,” he tweeted.
In other words, the analyst thinks that Apple wants to start selling its new iPhones while consumers still have some expendable income, anticipating a difficult winter. It is a perhaps cynical guess; but with much of Europe on track for surging energy prices as the weather cools, the economic logic would seem to make some sense.
If Apple really is rushing its new products to store shelves, that could mean compromises in terms of what the company is able to push through on an accelerated timeframe. Forbes’ Kelly points to the iPhone 14 Max as a likely “casualty”, given that it’s already thought to be behind schedule. And it appears that the iPhone models that will make it to store shelves will be only shallow, iterative upgrades over the previous year’s devices, with Bloomberg forecasting better cameras and faster processors.
That likely means there won’t be anything new in store with respect to biometric technology. Apple had helped to catalyze the mobile biometrics revolution with its launch of the fingerprint-scanning iPhone 5s in 2013, and it went on to catalyze the selfie biometrics revolution with its launch of Face ID in 2017. But the company is now way behind rivals in the growing trend of in-display fingerprint sensors, and Ming-Chi Kuo doesn’t seem to think that Apple’s in-display Touch ID will be realized in a commercial iPhone until 2024.
That having been said, the forthcoming devices’ new operating system, iOS 16, is reportedly ready to go, and will bring with it an important new authentication feature. Unveiled at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple’s new Passkeys will essentially create cryptographic keys to individual online accounts that are stored on a user’s mobile device and tied to its biometric authentication system. That means a user can easily log into an online account with a face or fingerprint scan— just not an in-display fingerprint scan.
Sources: Forbes, MacObserver, Bloomberg, BGR