Apple is preparing to offer a new iPhone with iris scanning capabilities as soon as 2017, according to new reports. With the iPhone 7 due to make its debut on September 7th, Apple’s attentions are already firmly on the replacement for the unannounced handset, as it is claimed that iris scanning will be part of the feature set of a smartphone that is still over 12 months away from release.
The new claims, coming out of Chinese site MoneyDJ and shared by DigiTimes, have Apple working on technology that would allow the 2017 iPhone to scan a user’s iris in order to perform security validation in a similar way to what is currently offered by Touch ID.
Similar to a user’s fingerprint, irises are unique in that they feature complex patterns that are not the same from one person to the next. This method of authenticating a user is already used in high-end security systems, and Apple wants to bring similar technology to the iPhone.
Previous rumors had already suggested the same feature would be coming to the iPhone, although 2018 was the timescale previously thought to be realistic. This new claim of a release in 2017 shouldn’t be too big of a surprise, however, especially considering the recently released Samsung Galaxy Note 7 already features its own iris scanner.
Taiwanese parts maker Xintec will begin manufacturing iris scanners next year, and with the company already an Apple supplier, it stands to reason that the partnership would bear fruit here.
Xintec is expected to enter mass production for iris-recognition chips in 2017, which will boost the backend house’s revenues for the year, the report cited market watchers as saying. New orders for iris-recognition sensors include those for the chips that will be embedded in the 2017 series of iPhone, the watchers were also quoted in the report.
The tenth anniversary iPhone, due for release in 2017, is expected to be the one that will feature more significant improvements over the iPhone 7 than the latter itself is expected to improve upon with regard to the iPhone 6s. Apple wants to push the boat out for the iPhone’s anniversary, which may explain why the iPhone 7 is set to be a minor revision rather than the drastic redesign we have come to expect from non-s iPhone versions.