Apple starts early work on folding iPhone, testing in-screen Touch ID for 'iPhone 13'

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 15
Apple has started early development work on a foldable iPhone and is planning incremental changes for its 2021 iPhone lineup, though one major upgrade could see the inclusion of an in-screen fingerprint sensor.

Credit: Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider
Credit: Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider


According to a Bloomberg report Friday, Apple still hasn't solidified plans to launch a foldable iPhone. Thus far, it has developed prototype folding screens for internal testing, but work hasn't extended much further beyond the display.

Reportedly, Apple's folding screen relies on a "mostly invisible hinge with the electronics stationed behind the display." The Cupertino tech giant has also discussed various screen size options, including a device that can unfold to a 6.7-inch footprint like the iPhone 12 Pro Max. Bloomberg notes that Apple doesn't even have a full handset prototype yet, and points out that a foldable iPhone is either years away or may never debut.

Rumors of an "iPhone Fold" have surfaced periodically for years, though the concept mostly exists in the form of numerous patents. Past reports have suggested that Apple is internally testing folding iPhone prototypes, however.

Instead of a folding iPhone, Apple is said to be focusing on its next lineup of iPhone and iPad devices for launch later in 2021. Internally, 2021 is shaping up to be an "S" year for the iPhone, with few major design or features changes compared to the iPhone 12 series.

Apple is reportedly still testing one major significant update for the so-called "iPhone 13," and that's an in-display fingerprint reader.

The company ditched Touch ID in its flagship devices in 2017, but the fingerprint authentication system is still used in several current iPhone, iPad, and Mac models. There have also been indications that Apple has been working to bring the feature back to its premium handsets to complement Face ID.

In August 2019, TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo forecast that the 2021 iPhone lineup could feature both Face ID and Touch ID. Qualcomm, said to be the likely supplier of the fingerprint sensor components, also recently debuted a much faster fingerprint reader.

The company is also considering nixing the charging port in a future iPhone model, leaving the MagSafe charger and Qi as the only charging technologies available. For the iPad, Apple is said to be planning a new iPad Pro similar to the current model but with a mini LED display and a faster processor.

Finally, Bloomberg confirms Apple will launch an "AirTags" tracking device in 2021.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 26
    First day buyer if the iPhone 13 has a in-display fingerprint reader for all new models. 
    edited January 15 gc_ukmuthuk_vanalingamkkqd1337MplsPwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 26
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 5,904member
    A very wise move. Giving users another biometric option would make life easier for almost everyone.

    Removing the charging point would be a goofy move unless they seriously upped the wireless charging speed or moved to a completely different wireless charging method, such as this idea, which may seem goofy too but could actually have legs.

    https://www.androidauthority.com/huawei-laser-wireless-charging-1160495/

    Anything is better than a crank though! 
    muthuk_vanalingamJFC_PA
  • Reply 3 of 26
    Apple has removed the 3.5mm audio jack and now the lighting port too.  Apple is going to narrow it appeal even more in the 13.
    DogpersonMplsP
  • Reply 4 of 26
    Apple has removed the 3.5mm audio jack and now the lighting port too.  Apple is going to narrow it appeal even more in the 13.
    Dogperson
  • Reply 5 of 26
    tshapitshapi Posts: 344member
    Apple will remove the charging port, I suspect that will be in 2023 or when ever Apple next updates iPhones over all design. They need to give MagSafe chargers a few years to catch on so it’s a more seamless transition

    I also believe Apple will undoubtedly add Touch ID back  into the iPhone. This whole Covid pandemic face mask thing screams like a calling card for Touch ID reinstatement 

    avon b7 said:
    A very wise move. Giving users another biometric option would make life easier for almost everyone.

    Removing the charging point would be a goofy move unless they seriously upped the wireless charging speed or moved to a completely different wireless charging method, such as this idea, which may seem goofy too but could actually have legs.

    https://www.androidauthority.com/huawei-laser-wireless-charging-1160495/

    Anything is better than a crank though!
    edited January 15
  • Reply 6 of 26
    GabyGaby Posts: 176member
    Adding a fingerprint sensor for an additional layer of security or as an alternative for when Face ID is unsuitable is perfectly feasible, and a welcome addition for many. But this is twice now I see the reference to them purchasing from Qualcomm. The likelihood that Apple purchases outside biometric tech is almost non existent. They own Authentec and still maintain their own R&D on fingerprint sensors. One need only to look at the newest iPad Air with its minuscule sensor built into the power switch to see what a non starter this is. I think that’s a more elegant solution for the iPhone if they add it to the sleep/wake button rather than adding unnecessary complexity and expense to the display. Not to say that’s outside the realm of possibility, as they have their own patents for several methods of in display sensors. Apple aims to be as vertically integrated as possible is all. 

    As for removing the port, this is inevitable whether it be in the short term or five years from now. Apple have stated that the future is wireless for a long time now. The end goal of course is to have true over-the-air wireless charging, similar to tech popularised by energous, but in the interim MagSafe is a satisfactory alternative, and undoubtedly an improvement on the Qi standard. Another benefit of removing the port will be that it cuts off Greykey and Cellebrite at the knees as they shall have no way of tethering their equipment to iOS devices. At least until and only if they find a way to achieve the same goal wirelessly. It remains to be seen how the game of cat and mouse will continue but no doubt it will piss off the security services....
    edited January 15 pulseimageswatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 26
    M68000M68000 Posts: 367member
    So,  it’s interesting that wireless charging is a big waste of energy and that a company that cares about environment would promote getting rid of the less wasteful corded charging that may be better for environment?  I love the convenience and “cool” factor of wireless charging but still think it’s okay and perhaps even best to have the charging and data port that has been on iPhones since day one.   I believe there are wall chargers now that use different material that makes less heat energy and is more efficient for corded charging.  When you think about a billion iPhones or whatever the number is,  that is really significant to think about how phones are charged.
    can you imagine the charging and data connector goes away and you no long can hook up your phone to your MacBook or other computer??  Not sure I like that idea at all.
    edited January 15 muthuk_vanalingambeowulfschmidtwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 26
    To me, the folding screen makes more sense as an iPad product rather than for the iPhone, yet this is not suggested by the tech media. Perhaps they’re so focused on Apple competing with Samsung?

    Apple has lots of experience with wireless only tech in the form of Apple Watch, so the iPhone is not that big a hurdle. Enhanced liquid protection and, as already mentioned, it will make breaking encryption harder. 

    I use my phone on a motorcycle everyday with an SP Qi charging mount, but even so, the open plug at the bottom of the ph is a weak Ingres point for rain even with current seals of the iP 11 pro max. I can’t wait for it to go away. 
  • Reply 9 of 26
    fred1fred1 Posts: 831member
    I personally have no interest in either a return to the flip phone or wireless charging. I don’t see any reason why I’d want to fold my phone to half its size. And in addition to the inefficiency of wireless charging, what is gained by placing a phone on a charger instead of plugging it in?  With every charger but the MagSafe you can’t pick up the phone to use it while it’s charging.
    I’d honestly like to know what benefits people see in both of these. 
    Dogpersonbeowulfschmidtwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 26
    seanjseanj Posts: 255member
    I hope they don’t make all their phones folding ones. Just like I have no need to try and squeeze a tablet into my jeans pocket, nor do I want to try and fit a bulky folded phone. I’d rather have half the screen size and half the width.
    As for only wireless charging only, go for it. Cables are a pain. It’s not as efficient but once we have completely replaced carbon emitting sources with green sources then it won’t matter.
    Gaby
  • Reply 11 of 26
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 2,048member
    Copying Samsung For The Win!!!
  • Reply 12 of 26
    I can’t see either really being an issue!!
    99% of the time I wirelessly charge my iPhone XR and I either use my 2nd AirPods or my Sony over ear headphones. 

    I also doubt most people could realistically afford a foldable iPhone, Samsung’s is so expensive and you can’t even get it on a contract. (Info correct as I write this). 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 26
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 2,048member
    seanj said:
    I hope they don’t make all their phones folding ones. Just like I have no need to try and squeeze a tablet into my jeans pocket, nor do I want to try and fit a bulky folded phone. I’d rather have half the screen size and half the width.
    As for only wireless charging only, go for it. Cables are a pain. It’s not as efficient but once we have completely replaced carbon emitting sources with green sources then it won’t matter.
    The foldable iPhone is so they can make a $2,000 iPhone with $800 in profit.

    As for only charging. The world is a long way away from all green sources of electricity.    This would be such an EVIL move on Apple's part.
    muthuk_vanalingamDogperson
  • Reply 14 of 26
    Instead of foldable, they should use that rollable OLED screen that LG showed at CES on their phone.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 26
    GabyGaby Posts: 176member
    Regarding the inefficiencies of wireless charging - if people are referring to Qi chargers constantly pinging for a device and using a steady stream of current then I wonder if it would be feasible to add some sort of miniaturised Reed switch(or similar) into the MagSafe charger to ensure that it is not activated until a device is connected. I always wondered why something along those lines had not been baked into the Qi standard. If people are meaning simply that induction is less efficient than wired charging well then this is actually rather negligible in the grand scheme of things. 
    edited January 16 watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 26
    Most CarPlay vehicles require a cabled connection to your phone. How will that work when the phone no longer has an external port?
    (I hope there’s a solution I’m just forgetting.)
    maclin3watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 26
    JFC_PAJFC_PA Posts: 629member
    I support a second biometric log in. As a big user of portable battery packs when traveling I’m less enthusiastic about only inductive charging as the physics of  that guarantees  a far less efficient transfer of power than a cable. Losing 50% of my battery pack effective capacity isn’t attractive. 

    As to folding? That doubles it’s thickness. Yeah a double thick iPhone is just the thing. Not
    edited January 17 watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 26
    seanjseanj Posts: 255member
    k2kw said:
    The foldable iPhone is so they can make a $2,000 iPhone with $800 in profit.

    As for only charging. The world is a long way away from all green sources of electricity.    This would be such an EVIL move on Apple's part.
    If Apple had that kind of markup on a phone they’d have far larger profits than they actually have.

    The world perhaps, but advanced nations are on track to achieve it in the next few years. And these are Apples biggest market.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 26
    Most CarPlay vehicles require a cabled connection to your phone. How will that work when the phone no longer has an external port?
    (I hope there’s a solution I’m just forgetting.)
    Perhaps a future version of MagSafe can also provide data communication for CarPlay. That way an Apple (or third party) cabled MagSafe connector could replace the current USBtoLightning cable. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 26
    kmareikmarei Posts: 101member
    Best folding phone I've seen is the Microsoft surface duo
    the hinge is amazing, super smooth and robust

    never paying a single penny for any folding one piece screen
    fact is that folding part will develop cracks and eventually break
    no way around it, so I'm not paying $1500-2000 for a phone that will only last 1-2 years then have zero value

    watto_cobra
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