Rumor: Apple Bringing Touch ID to Next-Generation iPads
Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) Touch ID biometric authentication system will be implemented in the upcoming iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, as well as the next-generation iPhone, according to the latest rumor out of Asia. Apple supplier Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (NYSE:TSM) began delivering the first batches of the fingerprint sensor assembly for all three devices in mid-April, according to “informed sources” cited by components trading network website cecb2b.com, via MacRumors.
According to the sources, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. has also outsourced some of the fingerprint sensor assembly production to Xintec and Suzhou Jing Fang, two other semiconductor manufacturers. The fingerprint sensors are reportedly being manufactured with the same 8-inch fab method that was previously used for the iPhone 5S, instead of a 12-inch fab method that a previous report from DigiTimes suggested would be used.
MacRumors reports that the implementation of the Touch ID technology in the next-generation iPad Air and iPad mini aligns with recent predictions made by well-connected KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Last month, Kuo released a product roadmap that offered various details about Apple’s upcoming products.
“We think the upgraded iPad Air will be launched earlier in 2014 than the iPad Air was in 2013. The biggest changes will be A8 processor, Touch ID (fingerprint recognition), and main camera resolution of 8MP,” wrote Kuo in a note obtained by MacRumors. “We previously thought Apple would not release a new version of the iPad mini this year, but we now think Apple will launch an upgraded version with same form factor, A8 processor and Touch ID (fingerprint recognition) to boost shipments of iPad mini with Retina display.”
Last year, Apple released the iPad Air on November 1, while the iPad mini with Retina display hit store shelves on November 12. Industry sources cited by Korea’s ETNews claimed that the iPad mini with Retina display launch was delayed due to yield issues related to production of the high-resolution display. Similarly, Jefferies analyst Peter Misek blamed the initial iPhone 5S shortages on “terrible” yields for the fingerprint sensor assembly, reports StreetInsider. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.’s relatively early start on the manufacturing of the fingerprint sensor assemblies for this year’s crop of devices suggests that Apple is seeking to avoid a repeat of last year’s supply problems.
It should be noted that Apple isn’t the only tech company gearing up to release a tablet with a fingerprint sensor this year. According to a new report from SamMobile, Samsung’s (SSNLF.PK) upcoming Galaxy Tab S will also feature a fingerprint sensor. Samsung’s tablet will use the same fingerprint sensor technology that the Korea-based company used in its recently released Galaxy S5 smartphone.
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