Apple's next iPhone could have Qualcomm's new ultrasonic fingerprint reader

Future iPhones could come with the 3D Sonic Max fingerprint scanner.

Corinne Reichert Senior Editor
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently writes news, analysis and features for CNET across the topics of electric vehicles, broadband networks, mobile devices, big tech, artificial intelligence, home technology and entertainment. In her spare time, she watches soccer games and F1 races, and goes to Disneyland as often as possible.
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The next iPhone could come with an ultrasonic fingerprint reader from Qualcomm.

Angela Lang/CNET

Apple is reportedly planning to use Qualcomm's new ultrasonic fingerprint reader in its future iPhones . The tech giant is partnering with Taiwanese touchscreen maker GIS to develop an iPhone for 2020 or 2021 that can use the under-display tech, according to MacRumors citing Economic Daily News.

Qualcomm unveiled its new 3D Sonic Max ultrasonic fingerprint reader earlier Tuesday during its third annual Snapdragon Technology Summit. Compared with Qualcomm's 4mm by 9mm ultrasonic fingerprint scanner used on the Samsung Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Note 10, the new one measures 20mm by 30mm. (The earlier, smaller one faced criticism after security issues.)

Watch this: Why the Galaxy S10's ultrasonic fingerprint reader matters

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The tech giant's history of working with Qualcomm on phone chips is long and complex. Apple had originally used modems from German company Infineon when it first launched the iPhone, before switching to Qualcomm in 2011. Intel then bought Infineon in 2011, but those chips weren't used again until the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus in 2016 after a dispute over Qualcomm's licensing fees.

When Apple and Qualcomm settled their legal battle and reached a multiyear 5G chip deal in April this year, Intel exited the 5G phone modem business.

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