Apple might use the new 3D Sonic Max ultrasonic fingerprint sensor announced by Qualcomm at Snapdragon Summit early in the day. According to a report, the Cupertino-based iPhone maker has arranged for a representative to meet with Taiwanese touchscreen manufacturer GIS next week. The meeting is reportedly to discuss the development of an iPhone with under-display fingerprint sensor. The company is targeting to release a smartphone with under-display fingerprint sensor as early as next year.

Apple iPhone might come with under-display fingerprint sensor

According to Economic Daily News, Apple plans to use Qualcomm’s ultrasonic fingerprint sensor technology in at least one iPhone model to be released in 2020. However, the timeframe could be pushed back to 2021. The report states that GIS would cooperate with Qualcomm to supply necessary components. Reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo had previously claimed that Apple is planning to include both Face ID and Touch ID on the iPhone in 2021. Barclays analyst recently said that Apple might launch with full screen touch ID next year.

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Apple ditched Touch ID in favor of Face ID with the launch of iPhone X in 2017. Last year, the company transitioned completely to Face ID when it launched the iPhone XR, iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. The recent leaks suggest that Touch ID could make a comeback with 2020 models. A Bloomberg report claimed that Apple is looking at including both Touch ID and Face ID on iPhone in 2021. Economic Daily News is the first to report that Apple will use ultrasonic sensor from Qualcomm.

There are currently two types of under-display fingerprint sensors: optical and ultrasonic. Most Android smartphones rely on optical sensor which uses light from a smartphone’s display to create a 2D image of a fingerprint. The ultrasonic sensor, on the other hand, uses sound waves to map the ridges on your finger and unlock the device. The ultrasonic sensor is more secure than the optical fingerprint sensor but has also been found to be slow to unlock devices.

Back at MWC, Gordon Thomas, Director, Product Management on Qualcomm 3D Sonic Sensor, told BGR India that the company is working on sensor with full screen recognition as well. While 3D Sonic Max has recognition area of 600 square millimeter, the next sensor will virtually cover the entire screen. The report states that Apple is looking for a solution that covers the entire area of the screen. There is a possibility that this solution from Qualcomm becomes ready by next year or we might see it on iPhones in 2021.