A new pair of leaks regarding the highly anticipated 5G iPhone 12 have surfaced, adding to the speculation regarding the return of Touch ID to the lineup, and perhaps shedding some light on the price point of Apple’s next flagship.
Though Apple did return to Touch ID as its chosen method of biometric authentication with the launch of last month’s iPhone SE, it did so at the expense of the popular Face ID 3D facial recognition system. That decision was likely due to keeping costs down in the iPhone SE, which is marketed at an entry-level price point and was essentially an iPhone 8 body with new internals.
However, Apple has filed a number of patents in recent months hinting that it could be looking to bring Touch ID back in the form of an in-display sensor, similar to what is found on a number of Android smartphones including Samsung’s new Galaxy s20.
Combined with Face ID, this would allow it to move to a multimodal form of biometric authentication, a move which may be needed now more than ever due to the rising number of people around the world wearing protective masks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the problems that can cause for facial recognition systems.
“Apple wants some form of Touch ID revival in its device lineup, in the form of an in-screen reader,” says Malcolm Owen of Apple Insider. “[It] has multiple patents on the topic, including the use of acoustic imaging and a system of pinholes for an optical-based solution.”
Another new leak may give us an idea of the pricing of the new iPhones. In a tweet posted to his account yesterday, prominent leaker Jon Prosser — who had previously leaked the pricing and launch date of the iPhone SE — said, “Been seeing some reports speculating on iPhone 12 prices, so I asked my sources.”
Prosser’s information suggests that the 5G iPhone 12 will start at $649 for the 5.4 inch model, with the 6.7 inch 5GiPhone 12 Pro Max starting at $1,099. This puts them roughly in line with the pricing for the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro Max, but recent reports suggest they could be much harder to come by at launch due to COVID-19-related manufacturing concerns.