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Apple giveth, and Apple taketh away — and the latest "iPhone 8" rumors suggest that Touch ID could be leaving with the top-end device. But even if the widely feared (yet still unconfirmed) scenario does actually take place, you've still got options.
Looking at the rumor, though, AppleInsider staff are still not sure why Apple would ditch Touch ID less than a year after migrating it to macOS in the 2016 MacBook Pro line. Given that Touch ID is what brought the banking industry to the table in the first place, it remains unclear how they would keep that support if they suddenly shifted to a new authentication method.
However, AppleInsider forum-goers aren't Apple's "typical" customer anymore, and haven't been since the iPhone really took off after Tim Cook took command at Apple. What the "devout" likes and is impassioned about, isn't always what Apple wants, or the larger customer base is seeking.
From floppy drives to FireWire to headphone jacks, Apple has a history of controversially removing features in order to streamline its products for reasons only clear to itself at the time. But whether Touch ID appears in this year's flagship "iPhone 8" or not, the fingerprint-based technology is not going anywhere just yet.
There is another...
Less talked about, but still (presumably) imminent is the fact that 2017 is a "S" year. The end of the year is still expected to see the "iPhone 7s" and "iPhone 7s Plus." If the diminutive A10X Fusion in the iPad Pro is any indication, an "A11" should still drive it with all the features that the iPhone 7 has, just faster.
The "iPhone 7s" rumors suggest the lineup will retain all the features of its predecessor, including Touch ID on the front, a dual camera for the larger 5.5-inch model, and perhaps most importantly for iOS 11, still be ARKit compatible.
Sometimes, the right tool is the fastest and newest thing Apple can bring to bear. Sometimes it isn't.
Another option for the truly reluctant to deal with Apple's rumored feature thievery or relocation is the iPhone SE, which isn't going anywhere after receiving a capacity bump earlier this year. Not only does it have a front-mounted Touch ID sensor, but it has a headphone jack — and it's compatible with iOS 11 and ARKit too.
Right tool, for the right job
When the iPhone was released a decade ago, you basically had one choice.
Right now, Apple has three screen sizes, spanning three models. There are the 4-inch iPhone SE with A9, the A9-powered iPhone 6s family in 4.7- and 5.5-inch screens, and the A10 Fusion iPhone 7 family with the same screen sizes as the iPhone 6s.
The "iPhone 8" could widen that even further, likely at the expense of a large-format iPhone 6s with a headphone jack — but the latter will still be available for a while from the carriers.
It's also important to note that the "iPhone 8" is still unannounced. The rumor mill and "noted analysts" have been wrong before — this time last year, they said the iPhone 7 would be uninteresting and not a compelling update from the iPhone 6 family.
Sometimes, the right tool is the fastest and newest thing Apple can bring to bear. Sometimes it isn't. For this reason, Apple still offers the 2015 MacBook Pro with Thunderbolt 2 and USB 3.0 Type A ports to users, even after the 2017 refresh. The company even sold its legacy non-Retina MacBook Pro with a disc drive until the summer of 2016.
Similarly, Apple will likely still offer the iPhone 7 when this fall's new lineups launch. And there will also probably be an "iPhone 7s" series, and the iPhone SE — all with a front-mounted Touch ID sensor, even if fingerprint scanning is moved or killed entirely in the "iPhone 8."
Stop us if you've heard this before — between price and feature changes, sometimes the newest thing from Cupertino isn't the best choice for all consumers at that particular moment. The "iPhone 8" is no exception to that.