Apple is working on iPhones with iris scanning capabilities that could debut in 2018, reports DigiTimes in a wider piece about increasing interest in advanced biometric functionality in smartphones.
Joao De Barros, a European explorer is credited with recording the first known system of fingerprinting in the 14th century. Alphonse Bertillon, a policeman from Paris, studied body mechanics in an effort to identify criminals.
Iris scanning would potentially be used in place of Touch ID as a way to verify a user’s identity, performing functions like making payments and unlocking an iOS device. Each person’s iris, or the circular colored muscle of the eye, contains a complex and random pattern that is unique to each individual.
Current iris scanning implementations have some notable benefits over Touch ID, including no need for direct contact to unlock a device and faster unlock speeds, but there are also drawbacks such as poor functionality in low lighting and issues with performance following alcohol consumption and eye surgery.
DigiTimes is not always a reliable source of information, so the rumor should be viewed with some skepticism until confirmed, but KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also believes Apple is planning on introducing new biometric features in a future iPhone, which could include either facial or iris scanning. Kuo’s rumor pertained to the 2017 iPhone, but it’s always possible such an advanced feature won’t be ready to debut until a later date.