Apple new iPhone biometric scanner faces, fingerprints

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Apple may replace its fingerprint reader with a face reader on the next iPhone, according to JPMorgan analyst Rod Hall.

A front-facing 3D scanner could replace the home button, which could be removed if Apple opts for an all-glass front this year, Hall wrote in a research note this week. Biometric facial scanning would be safer for Apple Pay and may work better in “wet conditions” if iPhones are more water resistant, JPMorgan wrote.

Other industry watchers, like Gene Munster of Loup Ventures, have speculated that Apple is likely working on an augmented reality platform using 3D sensors in phones. While this may possibly be true, JPMorgan expects this feature to be more likely to be used with clothing sizing, home improvement measures, and scanning for 3D printing.

CNBC reached out to Apple, which rarely announces product features before a new version is officially unveiled.

Facial scanning would put Apple in a race with Google’s Android platform, which has a “confident face“Security lock setting. It would cost about $10 or $15 per phone,” Hall said, agreeing with other analysts who predicted it would be expensive.

Apple’s sensor technology is also a valuable part of its intellectual property, Hall said. On Tuesday, Apple Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri said chips and sensors were among Apple’s most “strategic” and “important” investments.

– CNBC’s Mack Hogan contributed to this report

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