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An iPhone with an in-display fingerprint scanner may be coming... exclusively to China


With the launch of the iPhone X, Apple ditched the physical home button to deliver a bezel-less design befitting of the 10th anniversary of one of its most iconic product lines. Alongside the home button, however, Apple also ditched Touch ID, which relied on the fingerprint scanner housed in the home button on the iPhone. It was superseded by Face ID, which the company painted as the future of biometric authentication on portable devices, and is currently available on every iPhone from the X up, including the budget iPhone XR.

随着iPhone X的发布,苹果放弃了home实体键以推出一款无边框设计的手机,这十分适合作为苹果最具标志性的产品线之一诞生10周年的纪念款。不过,除了home实体键外,苹果还放弃了Touch ID(译者注:Touch ID中文名为触控ID,是苹果公司的一种指纹识别技术,曾作为iPhone 5s上的“杀手级”功能登场),这一功能依赖于iPhone 的home键里内置的指纹扫描仪实现,取而代之的是Face ID(译者注:Face ID,是一种刷脸认证方式,搭载环境光传感器、距离感应器,还集成了红外镜头、泛光感应元件(flood camera)和点阵投影器,多种配置共同搭建用户3D 脸部模型),苹果公司将其描述为便携式设备上生物特征识别技术的未来发展方向,目前iPhone X及以上版本的iPhone设备都可以使用Face ID,包括廉价的iPhone XR。

The new phone will reportedly remove Face ID, the facial recognition system for the iPhone, and instead employ an under-display fingerprint function, news site caijing.com.cn reported, citing sources on the upstream industry supply chain. An industry insider revealed that this is likely to "save on costs." A structured light laser emitter, the major component of Face ID, would cost several hundred yuan, said a Beijing-based representative who preferred to be anonymous. He told the Global Times on Monday that "only Apple can afford it but that would also affect its sales."

据财经网报道,按照上游供应链人士透露的消息,这款新的iPhone手机将取消面部识别系统(Face ID),取而代之的是屏下指纹识别功能。一位业内人士透露,这种做法可能会“节省成本”。一位不愿透露姓名的北京代表说,作为人脸识别组件的主要组成部分,一个结构化激光发射器将花费几百元。他在周一向《环球时报》表示:“只有苹果能负担得起这个价格,但这对其销量也会有所影响。”

Prior to the launch of the iPhone X in 2017, Apple was rumored to have been experimenting with various in-display fingerprint scanning solutions, but ultimately ditched the idea in favor Face ID for reasons not entirely clear.

在2017年推出iPhone X之前,有传言称苹果一直在尝试各种屏下指纹扫描仪的解决方案,但最终还是放弃了这一想法,转而研发人脸识别技术,具体原因尚不完全清楚。

The return of Touch ID?

Touch ID的回归?

The Global Times report suggests a couple of interesting things, provided that it's accurate. First off, it suggests that Apple has decided to go back to Touch ID for this particular model, because it is cheaper than the TrueDepth camera needed for 3D face recognition. On the other hand, an in-display fingerprint sensor requires an OLED display, so this phone will have one, though the current "budget" iPhone model, the XR, has an LCD display with Face ID. This is not entirely surprising, as Apple has been rumored to be moving away from LCD for good, starting next year.

《环球时报》的报道中有一些有趣的地方,当然前提是它得是准确无误的。首先一点,苹果决定对这一款特别的手机重新使用Touch ID是因为它所需的费用比3D人脸识别技术所需的TrueDepth相机的费用更低。从另一方面来看,屏下指纹传感器需要搭配OLED显示屏,那么就意味着这款手机也将会是OLED显示器,尽管当前被认为是“廉价的“iPhone XR手机有着液晶显示屏和Face ID。这并不完全出人意料,因为一直传闻苹果将从明年开始逐步淘汰液晶显示屏。

On the other hand, this comes as little surprise in light of the recent decline in iPhone sales in China, which was further aggravated by the 18-month trade war between the US and China. According to The Global Times, Chinese users prefer smartphones priced at around 5,000 yuan (about $730), which is what most home-grown companies are aiming at for their premium phones. Not to mention that at this price point, users are getting the latest technological bells and whistles, like pop-up cameras, sliding displays, in-display fingerprint scanners, the lot. That said, it would be interesting to see what Apple comes up with to entice smartphone users in China to switch to this rumored new iPhone model.