The week has just begun and so far we have seen several leaks regarding the iPhone 8. This newest leak comes, apparently, from a Foxconn factory and the image was posted to a Chinese forum. Of course, Foxconn is a major manufacturing partner used by Apple to produce components for many of their products including, presumably, the iPhone 8. This latest leak gives us a fresh look at what appears to be a rear-mounted iPhone 8 fingerprint scanner. Take a look for yourself:
The image is a little blurry but there are a few interesting things to take from it. First, we are clearly looking at some kind of warehouse or manufacturing space. This could be a Foxconn factory but, other than the name on the box, we can’t be sure. The image is a little too blurry to get a lot of detail from the suspected iPhone 8 models in the box but we can clearly see the Apple logo and another circular marking below the logo on the back side of the device. Obviously, there has never been anything like this on an iPhone before but it would make sense that this is the new location for the iPhone 8 fingerprint scanner.
We have known for quite some time that the TouchID sensor would have to be moved somewhere else after the removal of the home button on the iPhone 8. This was essentially confirmed by Apple with their HomePod leak. That leak, directly from Apple themselves, confirmed an iPhone 8 design that was nearly bezel-less with the display stretching edge to edge. That meant no room for a home button which is where we have traditionally found the TouchID sensor. Speculation then began about where TouchID was moving or if it would even be included at all. This photo may have given us the answer we were looking for. I’m not sure what else that circle below the Apple logo could be other than an iPhone 8 fingerprint scanner.
Personally, I think this is the best location for a fingerprint scanner. As a Nexus 6P user, I find the placement of my rear mounted fingerprint sensor to be very convenient and easy to reach. With no more home button, Apple had to do something with TouchID and removing the feature completely was probably not going to be a great choice. There had been some talk that Apple wanted to embed the iPhone 8 fingerprint scanner below the display but was having troubles with performance and accuracy. Recent rumors had been suggesting that TouchID would become a part of the lock/power button on the right-hand side of the device. Now, if these images are real, it appears Apple has gone ahead with an entirely different solution of putting the fingerprint sensor on the back – similar to what you see on recent Nexus and Pixel devices.
How much people actually use the iPhone 8 fingerprint scanner will depend a lot on how well the face unlock feature works. This new feature was also leaked in Apple’s HomePod firmware. Called PearlID, the long-rumored 3D face scanning technology will use a front facing infrared camera to scan a user’s face and map important points on their face. Then, by simply recognizing the face of the person holding the device, the iPhone 8 will be able to unlock, authorize Apple Pay purchases, and access secure apps. I’m excited to see how well PearlID works in real world conditions. Other manufacturers like Samsung have tried to implement features like iris scanning but fingerprint sensors have always proved to be the most reliable solution for biometric unlocking.
If this leak is accurate, Apple seems to already be running into problems with a leaky supply chain. Of course, us tech writers don’t mind at all but I’m sure the company would like to have some surprises saved for the day they finally reveal the iPhone 8. However, if everything including the iPhone 8 fingerprint scanner is public knowledge then their release event won’t exactly be very exciting or surprising. The Galaxy Note 8 appears to be having similar issues with leaks as they creep closer and closer to their reveal date which is expected to be in early September around IFA 2017.
At the rate we are seeing leaks, we should hopefully get a better look at the iPhone 8 fingerprint scanner before Apple’s official launch event for the device. Personally, I’m really hoping for a look at the new OLED display but getting a glimpse of a powered-on iPhone 8 may be a little too much to ask. Patience is a virtue but I don’t seem to have acquired that virtue from my parents. Of course, even for the impatient, it won’t be long before we get to see the iPhone 8. Many analysts are expecting the device to launch on time this fall with a September reveal date planned. Sit tight because the Apple news is only going to pick up over the next few weeks.