New reports claim Apple might be focusing on a different type of sensor for unlocking your iPhone .

Image: Lili Sams/ Mashable

Uh-oh. Apple’s upcoming iPhone 8 may not have that under-the-display fingerprint scanner after all; instead, it may will vary depending on 3D face scanning for unlocking the display.

The news comes via two new reports; Bloomberg and KGI Securities, whose Ming-Chi Kuo says the OLED-based iPhone 8 that’s the big-screened one that we’re all waiting for probably won’t have fingerprint recognition at all.

Kuo says that the technological challenges for embedding an under-the-display fingerprint sensor are still too great, in spite of the fact that Vivo and Qualcomm lately showing that it can be done. Current under-display fingerprint sensors do not penetrate OLED screens well enough, Kuo claims, and that they necessitate a “more complex panel pixel design.”

Because of these issues, Kuo flat out predicts that the iPhone 8 will not support fingerprint acceptance at all. Instead, the phone will have “3D sensing for facial recognition, ” with the added benefit of improved selfie quality.

Bloomberg ‘s report is a bit more cautious. It claims that the phone will have a new 3D sensor that would let you unlock your iPhone, authenticate payments, and launch procure apps. Apple’s intent is not for it to replace Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint scanner, the source told Bloomberg , but the report does state that Apple has “faced challenges” integrating the Touch ID into the new phone’s screen.

I’d be very surprised if Apple shunned Touch ID altogether and replaced it with a 3D sensor, however advanced it is possible to. Face and iris scanning has existed in phones for a while I tested ZTE’s smartphone implementation of eye scanning back in March 2015 and Samsung’s Galaxy S8 has both iris scanning and face scan as a behavior to unlock the phone.

The problem is that none of the implementations I’ve seen operated perfectly right; they required you to hold your phone in front of your face, which is annoying, and they were too slow and too unreliable. Bloomberg ‘s report allegations Apple’s new sensor be permitted to scan your face “within a few hundred milliseconds, ” and are now working even if the device is laying flat on the table. This sounds comforting, but I’m still not convinced it can match the simplicity of touching a spot on your telephone and having it instantaneously unlocks, with a very low failure rate.

Samsung Galaxy S8’s face scanning requires you to hold your phone up, 8 to 20 inches from your face.

Image: Lili Sams/ Mashable

I unlock my phone hundreds of times per day( currently, it’s an LG G6 with a fingerprint sensor on the back, but I’ve employed dozens of phones with a built-in fingerprint sensor, both on the front and back ). Sometimes, I hold it in front of me. Sometimes, I do it as I’m taking it out of my pocket. Sometimes, I do it while the phone’s screen is facing away from me.

It’s just something that I don’t think about; as I pick up my phone, I blindly navigate my digit towards that fingerprint sensor, and the phone is unlocked before I even look at it. And if you use Apple Pay, you’re probably used to having your finger on the sensor while comprising the phone next to a payment terminal. It’s hard to suppose a 3D face acceptance sensor , no matter how advanced, working well in all of these situations.

It stimulates much more appreciation for Apple to introduce this new technology alongside a fingerprint sensor. And even if the under-the-display fingerprint tech is not mature enough yet for volume production, I’m willing to bet Apple would rather move the fingerprint sensor to the back instead of removing it altogether.

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