Apple feinted away from Touch ID with its latest iPhones, but online leakers are continuing to keep the dream of in-display fingerprint scanning alive for Apple fans.
To be clear, the leakers themselves aren’t giving us much to go on. Twitter user @L0vetodream, described by AppleInsider as a “serial leaker”, recently tweeted, “MESA uts for iPhone”. Another leaker, Jon Prosser, helpfully replied that “MESA” is a reference to Touch ID (it’s a codename used internally at Apple), while “uts” means “under the screen”.
If this means anything, we need to assume that @L0vetodream has some inside information about Apple’s plans for a future iPhone. But there are also other good reasons to speculate. Apple filed patents pertaining to in-display fingerprint sensor technology this past July, and respected industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has previously suggested that Apple is working to deliver an iPhone with an in-display fingerprint scanning system in 2021.
Such a move would also help Apple to stay competitive in a market in which some of its rivals in the premium smartphone space have implemented both facial recognition and in-display fingerprint scanning in their own devices. Huawei, for example, went with both modalities last year, and so did ZTE.
Apple, meanwhile, surprised some industry watchers by sticking with its Face ID 3D facial recognition system as the only biometric authentication mechanism on its recently announced iPhone 12 models, and if the company’s share price is any indication, its latest iPhones seem to have been seen as underwhelming.
So it’s quite possible that Apple will try to impress consumers with a dual-modality iPhone 13 in 2021. In the meantime, we can only guess based on patents, industry analysis, and four-word tweets.