Apple originally intended to embed its Touch ID fingerprint scanner into the display on its upcoming iPhone 8. Production difficulties, however, reportedly sidelined the effort and led some to believe that Apple would instead move the fingerprint scanner to the back of the device.
Now, we're hearing that Touch ID is being abandoned entirely which, if true, is a disastrous decision.
Apple's Touch ID helped popularize the use of fingerprints on mobile devices. The company wasn't the first to implement such technology but it did have the distinction of working well (the same couldn't be said about many early fingerprint solutions).
Sources familiar with the matter tell The Wall Street Journal that Apple is ditching the fingerprint scanner and will instead rely on either a traditional passcode or a new facial recognition feature for login and authentication purposes.
Reverting back to a passcode that must be entered manually every time you unlock your device seems asinine. Facial recognition - at least, what I've seen of it thus far - could easily be classified as little more than a gimmicky, unreliable feature. Unless Apple has been able to greatly advance facial recognition technology, it doesn't sound like a suitable stand-in for Touch ID.
The misstep also reportedly cost Apple valuable production time that'll translate to (additional) inventory shortages.
Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 8 on September 12 and release it on September 22.