Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

How Apple might avoid that ugly iPhone 8 design that we all hate

Published May 24th, 2017 1:32PM EDT

If you buy through a BGR link, we may earn an affiliate commission, helping support our expert product labs.

It’s a brand new day, which means we have to deal with not one but multiple new iPhone 8 rumors, including one that puts an interesting twist on the new phone’s design. Buried in a series of leaks, a tweet indicates the iPhone 8 will have the great design we expect — the one that doesn’t involve hunting for the Touch ID sensor on the back. More importantly, we may have an indication of exactly how Apple will accomplish it.

Twitter user Benjamin Geskin on Wednesday tweeted a bunch of leaks he found on various Chinese forums, including pictures and videos of an iPhone 8 dummy unit, and a new schematic of the handset.

We have no way of confirming that what he posts is accurate, and he doesn’t always link the sites where he finds his images and info. But Geskin obviously gets his data from various sites around the web, and many of these rumors seem to be rooted in reality. A few hours ago, Geskin said on Twitter that the iPhone 8 will feature 3D scanning tech but no iris sensor, which is exactly what we’re expecting. He also added an interesting detail about the screen: “The fingerprint scanner is all around the screen,” he said.

That’s certainly exciting because, if accurate, it means the Touch ID sensor will be placed on the front side of the handset, not the back.

But is it really possible? Yes, it is, and Apple has long been researching the technology that could make it happen. Before you start coming up with jokes about how you’d unlock the phone by just holding it, you should know this isn’t your regular touch-based fingerprint sensing technology.

Rather than a sensor like the ones found in all iPhones since the iPhone 5s, the iPhone 8 might sport a fingerprint reader that’s based on acoustics. Check out the following image:

Image source: Apple via USPTO

In this patent application, Apple describes ways of reading a user’s fingerprint with the help of transducers placed all around the display to generate acoustic waves. The sensors would monitor the way these waves interact with objects they encounter, like the ridges of a fingerprint, and create unique signatures for each finger. The sensors could also recognize when the user is holding the device or talking on the phone, and the phone would not be unlocked.

In addition to the patent, a report in early March said that Apple created a new Touch ID sensor that uses ultrasound to read a fingerprint. Apple also has several patents describing such technology.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

More Tech