The iPhone 6 is expected to be a major upgraded for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). In fact, some analysts are expecting it to be such a big upgrade that it will end up weighing on Apple’s gross margins later this year (Yes, they decided this before even seeing the thing). But just how big of an upgrade will the iPhone 6 be? And will it offer better biometric features than the fingerprint scanner which has disappointed so many iPhone 5S users?
A new batch of patents spotted by Patently Apple suggests Apple may be developing the technology needed for enhanced biometrics. Of course the tech might not be ready for the iPhone 6, but there’s always a chance that at least one of these patents will be.
iPhone 6 could have improved fingerprint sensor
Since the iPhone 5S already has a fingerprint scanner, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) could already be working on adding the technology from this first patent into the iPhone 6. It involves using far-field sensors in the fingerprint scanner. Theoretically, this should improve the quality of the fingerprint captured by the user. In addition, it could determine how the user’s finger is oriented during a scan and possibly even put the sensors inside the touch screen or into a control device.
This patent even talks about adding Touch ID to other devices than the iPhone, including Mac computers and the iPod.
Patent combines GPS with Touch ID
Another patent suggests that the Touch ID fingerprint sensor could be combined with positioning data for a device. For example, parents might be able to track their child based on the location of the child’s device along with their fingerprints on it. This particular application seems like a good one, and Patently Apple also suggests using it for elderly people who could assign one of their fingerprints to make a 911 call if they need help. Then the phone could call 911 and make it possible for emergency workers to call up the person’s medical history as they go to help.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) also suggests that the technology could be used to track people on house arrest. Personally, it sounds to me like this could give the NSA even more technology to track our every move, whether we’re doing anything wrong or not.
iPhone 6 could have other biometric security features
Depending on just how developed the Touch ID sensor in the iPhone 5S was, the iPhone 6 could have even more biometric uses for the sensor. Another recent patent enables Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) to actually identify unauthorized users of its devices based on their fingerprint. The infrastructure for this one probably isn’t in place yet though, although who knows? It seems like the tech companies are in good with the government right now.
Another patent details technology most people are probably wishing was in the iPhone 5S. It provides information to users about whether the fingerprint they have scanned into the device could be improved, and if so, how they can improve it. For example, if the fingerprint is incomplete, it could inform the user how to scan their fingerprint better. If Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) could only incorporate one of these biometric security patents into the iPhone 6, this one has the potential to offer the biggest bang for the buck in terms of improving the user experience.