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iPhone 8’s new security feature is unlike any you've seen before

iPhone 8’s new security feature is unlike any you've seen before
Benjamin Geskin

The common belief is that the iPhone 8 will feature an edge-to-edge OLED display with ultra-thin bezels, incorporating within it a virtual home button and display embedded fingerprint scanner.

The iPhone 8's OLED screen with 3D Touch appears to be a certainty at this point since mass production of the screens is already in full swing.

However, multiple reports are saying that due to technical issues, the embedded fingerprint scanner may not make it to iPhone 8 after all. Although Apple was already granted a patent for successfully integrating fingerprint recognition on a display, the technology may not be ready for the iPhone 8.

In place of the front TouchID fingerprint scanner, Apple has the option of moving the fingerprint sensor to the rear (ala Samsung Galaxy S8) or replace it with an entirely new biometric system completely.

3D Facial Scan

A few months ago, reputable Apple leaker and KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted that the premium iPhone 8 will have a "revolutionary" front-facing camera that has fully-featured 3D sensing capabilities.

According to Kuo, this 3D camera system will utilize the existing camera module of current iPhones, an infrared transmitter, and an infrared receiver.

Using these three modules, the camera will then be able to find the position of objects in front of it, adding three-dimensional depth to two-dimensional images captured by the camera. This method is said to be faster than fingerprint recognition and can work even if the user is not facing the sensor directly.

This could then be used for facial and iris recognition and even facial scanning for augmented and virtual reality applications.

But Kuo also predicted that while the iPhone 8's edge-to-edge display will indeed have a virtual home button, the button will not support fingerprint recognition at all.

Kuo gives the main reasons why it can't be implemented at this point:

  • The full-screen design doesn't work with existing capacitive fingerprint recognition.
  • The scan-through ability of the under display fingerprint solution still has technical challenges, including (i) requirement for a more complex panel pixel design; (ii) disappointing scan-through of OLED panel despite it being thinner than LCD panel; and (iii) weakened scan-through performance due to overlayered panel module.

In line with this prediction, JPMorgan analyst Rod Hall had stated earlier that the iPhone 8's facial scanning capabilities will not only supplement augmented reality application but will have practical uses as well. In place of Touch ID, accurate 3D facial recognition may be used for secure transactions like Apple Pay and may lead to wider adoption.

But how secure will the iPhone 8's new biometric systems be? You've probably heard about how the Samsung Galaxy S8's iris scanner and facial recognition can be easily fooled by simple hacks.

If Apple is really ditching the fingerprint scanner, what will set the iPhone 8's iris and facial scanners apart from the Galaxy S8's?

As I mentioned earlier, the iPhone 8's front camera may have 3D sensing technology that can perceive spatial depth as well. This means that, unlike the Galaxy S8, it can't be easily fooled with 2D images.

But will Apple rely solely on this relatively new technology for the iPhone 8's security and really remove the fingerprint scanner completely? It will be another "courageous" move if that's the case.

Fast Charging

In other iPhone 8 news, a Barclay research note obtained by MacRumors suggested that the phone will be bundled with a built-in USB-C Power Delivery chip and a 10W power adapter with a USB-C connector.

The note stated that the chip will be the same CYPD2104 chip used in the 10.5-inch iPad Pro and the power adapter will be supplied by Cypress Semiconductor.

With these specs, the iPhone 8 will then be capable of "fast charging" when connected via a Lightning to USB-C cable to its 10W power adapter or to the 29w Macbook USB-C power adapter.

If this is true, this will give iPhone 8 owners a speedier charging option in addition to the rumored wireless charging system.

What do you think? Will these new iPhone 8 features be enough to get you excited? Drop us a comment!

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