It sounds like yet another key rumored feature of the iPhone 8 is causing problems for Apple and might not make it into the tenth anniversary model expected to be released later this year. An analyst claims that the fingerprint sensor that was expected to be embedded into the OLED display isn’t working the way Apple would like it to, and thus continues the drama of the iPhone that could disappoint.
iPhone 8 fingerprint scanner problems
We’ve been hearing for quite some time now that the company is having problems with all the ultra-high-tech features it wants to include in the iPhone 8, so this report shouldn’t come as much of a shock. It’s merely another concern to add to a growing pile of worries that mean the phone could disappoint consumers and invests alike.
Pacific Crest analyst Andy Hargreaves said in a research note on Sunday that Apple is considering just leaving the fingerprint sensor out of the iPhone 8 entirely. He said the phone is expected to have a full-screen OLED display, which means that there wouldn’t be any room for a Home button. This also means that if the iPhone 8 is going to have a fingerprint scanner, it’s going to have to be embedded in the display.
No fingerprint module orders yet for the iPhone 8
According to Hargreaves, the full-screen design necessitates an “optical fingerprint sensing solution to read fingerprints through the OLED panel.” However, he adds that he doesn’t believe the supplier that provides the company’s optical fingerprint modules has received firm production orders, which he says suggests that Apple doesn’t yet have the “functionality of the optical fingerprint sensor ready.” He also believes that the company has considered using Synaptic’s “optical fingerprint solution” but that it hasn’t yet been “qualified.”
The situation described in Pacific Crest’s note bears a striking resemblance to what happened to Samsung with the Galaxy S8. The Korean firm was rumored to be planning to embed the fingerprint scanner in the phone’s display in the same manner as Apple is being said to do with the iPhone 8. However, in the weeks leading up to the Galaxy S8’s reveal, rumors popped up suggesting that the fingerprint sensor tech wasn’t working. As a result, the device has a fingerprint scanner on its rear.
What if the iPhone 8 doesn’t have a fingerprint sensor?
Hargreaves believes that if Apple leaves the fingerprint sensor out of the iPhone 8, it will instead use a biometric login that uses only 3D sensing. He noted that using a fingerprint to log into a device is widely used now, but 3D sensing is still “unproven for this purpose.” As a result, he said switching the biometric login feature on the iPhone 8 to a 3D sensing technology would be a risky move because consumers might not be so apt to purchase it.
Nonetheless, he reiterated his Overweight rating and $150 price target on Apple stock.
He feels that if Apple can solve the issues with the fingerprint sensor within the next month or so, it will probably order modules from its suppliers. This would mean a delay in the launch of the iPhone 8, but that wouldn’t exactly be a surprise either, given that we’ve been hearing frequently that the phone could be delayed.
Shares of Apple stock closed up 0.55% at $141.83 on Monday.