Talk of the notch's demise next year could be good news for Touch ID fans

How to use Face ID on the iPhone X
How to use Face ID on the iPhone X (Image credit: iMore)

Today saw a new Ming-Chi Kuo research note suggest that Apple plans to do away with the notch as soon as the 2022 iPhones. That's next year for those who are struggling to believe we aren't still in March 2020. Replacing the notch? A hole-punch. But that hole can't possibly be big enough for Face ID, can it?

The notch was first introduced in 2017 when Face ID and iPhone X made their debut and that bathtub-looking thing was very much needed. It was needed so Apple had somewhere to put the cameras, sensors, and pixie dust needed to make Face ID work so well and in a secure manner, and that's still the case four years later. Face ID has gotten better, but that notch remains. That makes me wonder what the plan is if Kuo is on the money with today's note.

Unless Apple has some more engineering wizardry hidden up Tim Cook's sleeve – entirely possible – then Face ID won't be part of the 2022 iPhones. Or, at least, not in the form to which we've become accustomed. Enter, Touch ID.

Galaxy S20 Review Twitter Smokehouse Table Wide

Galaxy S20 Review Twitter Smokehouse Table Wide (Image credit: Ara Wagoner / iMore)

Rumors of Apple working on some sort of Touch ID return have come and gone. Others like Samsung have been putting fingerprint sensors under screens for a couple of years, so it isn't anything new. Apple will likely want to add its own spin on proceedings and I'd imagine Touch ID will be more secure and/or faster than the competition. But the underlying tech exists. And it'll be needed if Face ID is done for.

I for one would be sad to see Face ID go away and I'd rather a world where we have both it and Touch ID on the same iPhone. I'd also argue that Face ID is the better bet in a post-mask world – if and when we get there. Apple's Apple Watch unlocking feature is cool and works well, but it's only good for people with Apple Watches. Everyone else, masked up, needs Touch ID.

Maybe they're going to get it in 2022. It's just a shame it looks like it'll be the only biometric security option on offer.

Oliver Haslam
Contributor

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

2 Comments
  • The notch/horns combo has become iconic and I hope it doesn't go away, although it would've been nice having TouchID in a masked world.
  • A design/fab compromise like a notch is now "iconic?" OK...I want no notch or hole-punch - just unified screen with an imperceptible selfie cam (I'm willing to wait until that is a reality before I upgrade). I don't know why an in-screen touch ID couldn't co-exist along with Face ID - the best of both worlds. Sometimes one is better than the other in certain situations.