Apple is gearing up for its September 12 event, and we expect to see the launch of a bunch of new products. Needless to say, the highlight of the event will be three iPhones. If rumors are to be believed, for the first time all of Apple’s latest iPhones will be come sans a home button. Going by the trend in the smartphone industry, this could very well be the first step towards killing fingerprint sensors on smartphones.
Apple is notorious for suddenly taking away features that we’ve grown used to. Whether it’s replacing the 30-pin dock connector with a Lightning port on the iPhone 5, or completely taking away the 3.5mm audio jack on the iPhone 7. Last year’s iPhone X was the first time an Apple product was launched without the home button. Although Apple claims it takes “courage” to lead with such moves, not everyone takes kindly to drastic changes.
Strong reactions, but…
Every major change that Apple brought about was met with strong reactions and skepticism from users and the competition alike. Social media went crazy when Apple dropped the audio jack on the iPhone. Several competing phone manufacturers would highlight the 3.5mm audio jack on their smartphones during launch events.
— Jason Long (@jasonlong) September 7, 2016
— Stephen Shankland (@stshank) September 7, 2016
There were similar reactions when Apple introduced the notch and Face ID feature on the iPhone X last year.
"The notch was a good idea" —Apple fanboys, 2017
I present to you Exhibit A pic.twitter.com/HzQLwBrbDC
— jedmund isn't here (@jedmund) September 12, 2017
— THEGREAT MACKAVELI (@DA_MACKAVELI) September 12, 2017
Despite such reactions, more often than not, these moves by Apple end up becoming an industry trend. These days, adopting a notched display is considered contemporary. While Android companies have played around with the design and size of the notch, the basic philosophy is still inspired by Apple. Same is the case with the audio jack, as we are seeing an increasing number of flagship devices launch without the legacy port. This is why I believe we will slowly see the end of fingerprint sensors on smartphones.
Death of fingerprint sensors
To achieve the full-screen display on the iPhone X, Apple completely dropped the fingerprint sensor. Reports state that Apple was testing a few types of sensors, but didn’t find them good enough, and eventually went with Face ID.
Watch: Apple iPhone X Review
Again we saw many make fun of the feature, and also question the security aspect. Even gesture-based navigation was widely panned. But since then, we have seen smartphones across all price categories offer face unlock feature, and Google has introduced native support for gesture navigation on its latest Android Pie.
With Apple dropping the home button on all its iPhones (and possibly iPads), we’re likely to see a faster and more secure version of Face ID this year. And with this feature becoming standard for iOS users, it won’t be long before we see a much wider adoption of facial recognition and gestures in the Android world.
I’m not saying that fingerprint sensors will suddenly disappear from smartphones overnight. But the launch of the world’s most popular flagship smartphone without a fingerprint sensor will set the course for eventual change. It’s quite likely over the the next few years fingerprint scanner would be leave a mark in mentions of retro tech.