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Touch ID doesn't matter
Recognize the user is more important

iPhone 8 Touch ID doesn't matter

Marketing over tech

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I see many people speculating if the new iPhone will have Touch ID or not. I don’t think it matters. The central point is having the phone recognize the user in a reliable and fast way.

What it is important is to solve the problem. Technology is just an instrument for doing so.

Context

I will try to explain the context in a succinct way for people new to the subject.

Touch ID recognizes the owner, unlocks, and wakes up the phone with a press of a button. Three things in one step. It is reliable and fast, so many users love it.

The problem comes with the possibility of losing that feature. New phones are shrinking the bezels. LG and Samsung are the last examples. There are many reasons to think that the new iPhone coming in autumn will have few or no bezels. That, of course, is an improvement: the phone will have a bigger screen yet a small size. The drawback is that there will be no space for the button and its Touch ID.

A fingerprint reader behind the screen could be the obvious alternative. The problem is that the technology is not there yet or likely won’t be in time for the launch.

A second option is to put the fingerprint reader on the back of the phone. That technology is easy to implement. But Touch ID on the back has two significant drawbacks:

- It is a less suitable solution than the authentication on the front. It is a step back. It is not a big deal, but it does not represent an improvement by any means.

- It is not very original. That is what the others brands have already done.

Recognize the user

There are different ways to Identify the user. Now, the iPhone uses the Touch ID, but there are other options. Facial recognition, iris scanning, and voice recognition are some of them.

Rene Ritchie from iMore does an excellent job explaining the state of the technology in this field.

For me, the focus is not Touch ID, yes or no. What is important is the ability of the phone to recognize the user in a fast and reliable way.

I like the way Rene explains it: "Touch ID isn't there for Touch ID's sake. It was a way to solve a problem, and, in the future, there will be better, faster, and easier ways to solve the same problem or things that make the problem disappear so it no longer needs solving."

Improve Touch ID

Touch ID works very well. However, the technology also has some limitations.

- Touch. Sometimes you have your hands occupied. You need something from your phone, but you cannot press the button at that moment.

- Wet. Touch ID does not work with wet hands. Being in that situation in the kitchen is common. You want to check some detail of a recipe, you want to skip that ad, you need to answer a call, we have all been in those situations.

- Space. Touch ID takes a lot of space on the front of the screen. That is the main drawback.

It could require a tradeoff. Perhaps a new solution will solve some of those limitations, but I will have to give up some of the advantages of Touch ID. I am ok if the overall experience implies an improvement.

Marketing over tech

The basic concept of marketing is to know first what the consumer needs and then go backwards and make a product that meets that need.

The need is a phone that could recognize you. This implies having your data secure yet getting a fast answer to the request of information from the phone. Now, Touch ID does that in a reliable and fast way. I will welcome any technology that could do that in a better way.

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