Patents aren’t always utilized by companies when they’re awarded. But if Apple does implement its latest patent, we can expect an iPhone to feature a fingerprint reader embedded in its display.
A patent published by the US Patent and Trademark office this week describes an “interactive display with IR diodes,” which would allow Apple to ditch Touch ID for a more advanced system. If true, the company could potentially ditch the home button as well, something that continues to take up precious real estate under the display.
This jives with a persistent iPhone 8 rumor claiming the upcoming device’s 5.8-inch screen will be virtually bezel-less, similar to what Samsung and LG are expected to introduce with their flagships. If Apple were to remove the home button and Touch ID, it’ll have the freedom to extend the iPhone’s display without making the device larger overall.
If Apple does ditch Touch ID for a more advanced system, it’ll only be successful if it’s just as accurate. Having a fingerprint sensor embedded in the display sounds nice, but nobody will use it if it doesn’t work as well as—or better than—Touch ID.
Apple will reportedly use technology perfected by LuxVue, which Apple acquired back in 2014. Apple Insider says:
Among other facets, including the ability to completely replace bulky capacitive sensor components with strategically placed infrared light emitters and sensors, today’s patent lays out a design for incorporating touch panels and fingerprint sensors using largely similar hardware.
Maybe that’s why the iPhone 8 will have an iris scanner?
As we crawl toward the iPhone 8’s fall release, a chorus of similar reports have begun gaining steam. In addition to the iPhone having a fingerprint sensor embedded in the display, wireless charging also sounds like a lock, as does a glass and aluminum body.
Many OEMs have relocated fingerprint sensors to the back of their devices, but that apparently won’t be the Apple way. If this patent does get implemented into a future product, Apple will introduce an all-new solution that, if history is anything to go by, will then turn up in other phones soon after.