When Apple “revealed” the iPad Air 4 announced what is also its first power button fingerprint sensor. Until then, all of their mobile products used a TouchID sensor on the front home button, or FaceID. In this version, due for release later this month, there is no home button or facial ID system, and instead, Apple decided to use the power button. to host a fingerprint sensor.
That little difference was more work than any of us can imagine, at least that’s what John Ternus and Bob Borchersm suggest in a podcast. Apple’s two vice presidents, the first in the hardware section and the second in marketing, explained that integrating Touch ID into the power button was an “engineering feat”, highlighting some of the challenges that arose.
For starters, the button is much thinner than the home button, which means the sensor has to work with a reduced section of the fingerprint. When TouchID is integrated with the home button, it has access to the entire fingerprint, or at least most of it. On the iPad Air 4, he only has a slice of that fingerprint and he still has to determine if it’s really his finger to ensure the same level of security.
IPad Air 4 to be announced later this month
Apple has updated its sensor to take this restriction into account. The sensor placed on the tablet is more sensitive than the one we see on iPhones, and the existing lifelong learning mechanisms for Touch ID, such as Face ID, have been updated to handle the fingerprint sections. During the fingerprint creation phase, the user will be invited, as before, to place his finger several times on the sensor, which should provide an overview. Learning continues to get a better representation of the print each time it is unlocked.
The other difficulty reported by John Ternus concerns the location of the fingerprint sensor itself. The lock button is placed on the top of the iPad Air 4, in the same place as the mobile antenna on the tablets. Both elements had to be optimized to avoid interference, which led the teams in charge of Touch ID to work with those who managed the mobile communication part.
Apple intends to launch its new tablet in October, but has yet to reveal an exact date.
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