Apple’s latest patent wants to put TouchID in the touchscreen

As time goes on people are getting less and less accepting of physical buttons and large bezels on their phones, and Apple’s TouchID/homescreen button is among the worst offenders. Solution? Take that button and integrate it into the touchscreen instead.

Published by the US Patent and Trademark Office last week, the patent is titled ‘Fingerprint Sensor in an Electronic Device’ and details a system where a user places heir finger or thumb on the touchscreen to verify their identity. That means things like unlocking the phone, purchasing music, or verifying Apple Pay payments can be done by simply pressing your finger against the right part of the phone’s display.

The patent also details having the entire display capable of fingerprint scanning, even outlining cases where you could use multiple digits to unlock your device. It also mentions being able to unlock an iPad by placing your entire hand on the screen.

Obviously the primary concern is how Apple will actually embed fingerprint sensors within the screen without having an adverse effect on image quality, touch sensitivity, and overall price. The patent suggests a solution in the form of making the top or bottom layer of the touchscreen an integrated circuit. Apple also believes that a full-panel fingerprint sensor could be able to detect touch inputs without issue.

But who says TouchID has to be on the front of the phone anyway? The Nexus 6’s ill-fated fingerprint scanner was designed to sit in a small indent on the back of the phone (an indent which is still present in the final model). It’s not as ‘sci-fi’ as a fingerprint-scanning touchscreen, but it’s certainly a lot more practical.

Tom Pritchard

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