Editorial Feature

Replacing Fingerprint Sensors with Apple's FaceID

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Smartphone technology keeps on getting smarter with the recent release of Apple’s iPhone X series, including the XS, XS Max and XR. However, there’s one feature that’s not included - the fingerprint sensor.

The introduction of a fingerprint sensor into the iPhone® eliminated the need to enter a password to unlock the phone. End-users are constantly up against the need to remember complicated mixtures of words and numbers to access their iPhone screen and personal data.

Biometric technology dates back the mid-eighteenth century with the capture of hand images for the identification of an individual. Since the early adaptation of this technology, there has been a vast amount of development to miniaturize this technology and help diversify its use from the business and government sector to personalize items such as mobile phones.

Apple calls the fingerprint sensor feature a Touch ID. The new feature behaves like a fingerprint scanner. The sensor is protected by a sapphire crystal lens, a material that is ideal for demanding applications.

The sapphire crystal lens has scratch resistant and break-resistant properties and works to help the scanner capture high-resolution images of the fingertips (specifically the sub-epidermal layer to the skin structure). The new software is designed to analyze data points on the fingerprint to help identify the end-user.

This new feature really does set a new precedent for mobile equipment. The Touch ID is clearly a feature integrated into the new iPhone® by Apple to help enhance the user’s experience. With users constantly changing passwords, the issue of remembering this information was likely to present a new challenge to be overcome by phone manufacturer Apple.

There was clearly a demand to make password entry into phone technology much simpler and Apple has, yet again, demonstrated a seamless approach to this challenge by making a user’s iPhone® more accessible. Apple have defined how technology can and has become so effortless to use.

But, the fingerprint sensor isn’t the hottest thing of late – Face ID is.

Eliminating the Need for a Fingerprint Sensor

Up until recently, most new smartphones were unlocked using fingerprint sensors, but with the release of Apple’s new waves of iPhones, X, XR, XS, XS Max and the iPad pro, unlocking a phone has been made easier still.

Apple has come up with an alternative for the fingerprint sensor, with Apple’s iPhone lineup no longer having a home button, and there therefore being no place for Touch ID. Instead, they’ve replaced it with a new feature – the Face ID, which unlocks the phone through the user’s face.

The Face ID is a biometric scanner built into the front camera system of the iPhone. The facial-recognition feature uses a TrueDepth camera system that involves sensors, a dot projector, and cameras to make an amazingly detailed 3D map of the face. Every time the user unlocks the phone, it performs this secure authentication check, comparing the generated map to the registered user’s face.

Though the feature has come under fire from the American Civil Liberties Union over privacy concerns, Apple maintains that the Face ID is an improvement and more secure. For many, the new feature revolutionizes smartphone use, making it more convenient and practical.

References and Further Reading

This article was updated on the 1st August, 2019.

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