According to anonymous sources, Apple is going to replace facial recognition on iPhones with an under-display fingerprint sensor. They’re making a special version of iPhone for Chinese buyers, which won’t have facial recognition. For reference, the last two generations of Apple’s iPhones were released with facial recognition and without a fingerprint sensor.
Apple had said that it did not find a single under-display fingerprint sensor that met its requirements, but it looks like it has now finally found one that works with its OLED displays.
Cupertino has lost many loyal Chinese customers over the past due to increasing iPhone prices. Most of them prefer Smartphones priced at around $700 and $730. So, they’re going to remove structured light emitters from the iPhones, which are used for facial recognition. The emitter can cost up to several hundred Yuan per phone, which increases the costs.
Apple has placed great importance on its Chinese customers in the past, however, the large price gap has become an issue. This is not the first time Apple has made changes for the Chinese market, but it was never to this extent. Previously for iPhone XS and XR, Apple decided to sell a physical dual-SIM card model in China. The rest of the world had to use an embedded eSIM and a regular SIM card for the dual-SIM models.
Take this report with a grain of salt since it’s nothing but rumors at this point. Moreover, in any case, the model will not be launched this year. Ming-Chi Kuo and other analysts have repeatedly stated that the 2019 iPhone lineup will be a series of iterative updates to iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR so we won’t be seeing a special China-only iPhone any time soon.