In April we reported that Apple was having trouble trying to find a coating material that wouldn't interfere with their upcoming iPhone fingerprint sensor. The glitch was serious enough that it could cause the technology to be delayed. A new report out today claims that the problems could be deeper in nature.
According to industry sources, Apple and Samsung have reportedly been suffering headaches due to the low production yield of fingerprint recognition sensor chips. The two companies were to apply fingerprint recognition to their flagship smartphones to be launched in the second half, but they may have to be abandoned due to an unstable sensor chip supply.
The sources added that Samsung decided to drop the fingerprint recognition function at the final development stage of Galaxy Note 3, due to unstable supply of sensor chip. Apple is also highly likely to postpone the launch of iPhone S5 or drop this feature due to a technological issue related to fingerprint recognition function.
Supply chain sources further state that there aren't many sensor chip suppliers to choose from which complicates matters. At the moment, smartphone manufactures have to depend on chip makers, since they are at the initial stage of introducing bio-recognition technology to smartphones. Samsung and Apple are known to have started to develop bio-recognition algorithms to reduce such dependence and realize Application Processor (AP) and bio-recognition on a single chip. The sources state that stabilizing the production yield of sensor chips and developing packaging technology will take time.
Yesterday a research note from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo came to light in an AppleInsider report which stated that Kuo's research note made no mention of a fingerprint sensor in the "iPhone 5S," though the analyst has repeatedly asserted claims that Apple would include such functionality in this year's model. The report further stated that the "iPhone 5S" production was challenging and so today's news about the fingerprint sensor causing Apple grief may explain the "iPhone 5S" production challenges.
Yet at the end of the day, one has to question whether Apple is really having a problem with their fingerprint sensor for their next major iPhone release or if the news report is simply trying to justify Samsung's inability to deliver a similar product for 2013. Only time will tell how this ends up playing out.
Other Notable Fingerprint Related Reports