When Apple released the iPhone XS, XS Max, and iPhone XR in September 2018, it confirmed some of its customers’ worse nightmares. Touch ID was dead when it comes to iPhones, long live Face ID. I’ve often said I’d choose 3D face recognition over fingerprint scanning any day, but many iPhone users would instead get their Touch ID sensors back. The good news is that it’s finally happening. Touch ID is making a return. The bad news is that it’s not the triumphant kind of return you may have wished for.
The horrific murder of Touch ID was an unavoidable compromise. Making an all-screen phone like the iPhone X wasn’t possible at the time without replacing fingerprint scanning with something at least as secure. Face ID, it turns out, is even more secure and more comfortable to use. There’s a case now that Apple could place a fingerprint sensor under the screen if it wanted to, and the company has studied technology that would make it happen well before the iPhone X’s arrival. But that won’t happen anytime soon, if ever. So Touch ID isn’t coming to an all-screen version of the iPhone 12 phones that will launch this September.
But Apple is making an iPhone 8 variation that’s currently called iPhone 9 or iPhone SE 2. The handset would retain the design of the 2017 phone, the camera hardware, and the home button with built-in fingerprint-sensing features. However, the device will get a massive upgrade when it comes to processing power. Apple will replace the aging A11 chip with an A13 processor, the same one that’s inside the iPhone 11 phones. And just like that, the iPhone 9 would be even faster than most of its Android rivals.
The best thing about this iPhone SE 2 device is its price. The handset is rumored to cost $399, which is an incredible entry price point for the iPhone. Apple is expected to hold a press event on March 31st and start selling the handset a few days later if a recent rumor is to be believed.
A new Bloomberg report looking into the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on Apple’s iPhone production in China contains a little gem about the upcoming iPhone 9. The launch is on track to launch in March, although plans are “still fluid,” according to sources familiar with the matter. The report doesn’t offer other details about the handset, other than to reiterate its $400 price tag.
Bloomberg also expects Apple to launch new iPad Pro models with an updated camera system in the first half of the year. But the virus outbreak might delay the launch and constrain supply. Digitimes notes that Apple will unveil a brand new iPad Pro in March, with shipments not expected to peak until after April, as suppliers are slowly ramping up production amid the coronavirus epidemic.
What’s interesting about the report is that it refers to the new device as the 12-inch iPad Pro, a product that doesn’t exist. Apple changed the iPad Pro sizes in 2018 when it launched its first tablets with Face ID, slim bezels, and USB-C connectivity. They came in 11-inch and 12.9-inch options. Digitimes, whose supply chain reports aren’t always accurate, also says the 12-inch iPad Pro will come with a triple camera on the back, including a 3D sensor.