Apple has been awarded a patent that will allow the company to turn an entire iPhone display into a fingerprint reader. The patent’s existence is timely considering Apple could ditch the Touch ID home button for a “function area,” reportedly similar in functionality to the MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar.
The newly awarded patent suggests Apple will use multiple layers to make the iPhone display, one of which will be capable of reading fingerprints.
If it works, unlocking your phone—and authenticating purchases—will be much easier. Rather than placing your finger on Touch ID, you’ll be able touch any portion of the display.
The move could mark the first time Apple’s iPhone doesn’t come with a home button. Since the device launched in 2007, the home button has been a mainstay, a part of the iPhone’s identity. But now that display bezels are shrinking, the idea of a home button placed under the screen seems outdated.
Apple wouldn’t be the first to take the home button away, but its solution sounds more elegant than sticking it on the back, something most Android manufacturers have already done.
What about the “function area?”
This isn’t the first patent Apple has been awarded suggesting the company will build a fingerprint reader right into an iPhone display. Whether Apple actually implements these features remains to be seen. But it sure adds further weight to the idea of Apple using a “function area” rather than a home button.