A report from TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicts that Apple will re-introduce Touch ID in a coming iPhone to be released in 2021.
The power button on the device’s side will be capacitive and feature a fingerprint scanner, according to the Kuo’s report.
Apple abandoned Touch ID and its use of biometric fingerprint sensors starting with the iPhone X in 2017, switching to 3D facial recognition with the release of that device and all following iPhone models.
However, though Face ID is typically regarded as both more secure and convenient than fingerprint scanning, it does have its drawbacks. Recently, in light of the (as of today) more than 7,700 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in mainland China, iPhone users in China have discovered that they are unable to unlock their iPhones using Face ID while wearing masks.
“Due to technology limitations, Face ID can’t work when users wear masks,” Kuo explained in his report, obtained by Cult of Mac. “We predicted that the 1H21 new LCD iPhone will be equipped with the new-design capacitive fingerprint solution integrated with side power button and believe it will improve the user experience,” Kuo added. “However, if there will be no significant improvements for the coronavirus epidemic in the near term, it will likely have negative impacts on existing iOS user experience.”
In recent months other reports have hinted toward the possible return of Touch ID for future iPhone releases, though many of those reports were primarily concerned with under-display technology and not a physical fingerprint sensor.
However, Apple did file a patent earlier this year that hinted at a potential future Apple Pencil release with a capacitive Touch ID-enabled power button, while other rumours have the same biometric technology in a future MacBook Pro release.