The next iPhone might have an in-screen fingerprint scanner

Apple is also reportedly testing foldable displays.

Chris Velazco / Engadget

Compared to the changes that could grace the company’s iMac and MacBook Pro computers, Apple is reportedly planning more subtle improvements for its iPhone lineup in 2021. According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, the company’s engineers see this as an “S” kind of year after they built so many improvements into the iPhone 12. However, the new models could include at least one feature: an in-display fingerprint scanner.

Apple has had an interesting history with fingerprint scanners. While it was one of the first companies to popularize the technology with the iPhone 5S in 2013, it also started to move away from it a lot earlier than other companies did when it introduced the iPhone X in 2017. With its emphasis on Face ID, the company completely skipped the move to in-display fingerprint sensors. But the coronavirus pandemic seems to have changed its opinion on the technology. According to Gurman, the feature won’t replace Face ID, but it will give you an alternate way of authenticating your identity if you’re wearing a mask, or if you find Face ID doesn’t work as well as it should.

Gurman also reports Apple has been testing foldable displays. He said the company doesn’t have a solid plan for the technology yet and warned it may be years before it has something to show to the public. It may also decide a foldable display iPhone is not worth pursuing. Some of the other interesting tidbits in the report include a mention of AirTags and the company’s 2021 iPad lineup. Apple will reportedly announce the oft-rumored Tile-like accessory sometime this year. It’s also apparently working on a new version of its entry-level iPad that features a similar design to the 2020 iPad Air.