In the last few years, Apple has filed numerous patents for different technologies to embed the fingerprint sensor in the display. The Cupertino company is going to do away with the physical home button on the iPhone 8, moving the fingerprint sensor to the display area. A new patent granted to Apple describes how the in-display fingerprint scanner could allow users to touch anywhere on the screen for authentication.
How the new technology works
The patent was originally filed in the first quarter of 2015, and published by the USPTO in July 2016. However, it was granted to the iPhone maker only on Tuesday. It lends credibility to rumors that the 10th anniversary iPhone would have the fingerprint scanner underneath the display. The technology involves multiple layers placed between the top “transparent dielectric cover,” which could be glass, and the bottom display layer.
The setup could be restricted to only a specific part of the display, or cover the entire viewable display. Besides eliminating the Touch ID sensor, the new technology would also offer users a seamless experience, said Apple in its patent filing. Though the patent documents include an illustration of an iPhone with physical home button, the iPhone 8 may not include a home button.
It eliminates the ‘separate authentication step’
Apple says scanning the fingerprint through the display would eliminate the need for a “separate authentication step” where you have to move the fingerprint to the home button. It would authenticate your fingerprint during normal use. For instance, if you are making an App Store purchase or an Apple Pay transaction, the in-display scanner could authenticate your fingerprint when you hit the Buy button.
This is not the only in-display fingerprint reader technology Apple has been working on. Last month, the company was granted the patent for a technology that involves the use of infrared light emitters and sensors to read your fingerprint. The iPhone 8 is said to have a bezel-less OLED display. Apple is also rumored to add facial recognition technology to the 10th anniversary iPhone.
iPhone 8 to ditch the Lighting port
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo stated last month that the 5.8-inch iPhone 8 would have the same dimensions as the 4.7-inch iPhone 7, thanks to the bezel-less display. However, the analyst said only 5.15-inch of the 5.8-inch screen space would be the actual display area. The remaining screen would be occupied by a new “function area” that would serve dynamic controls based on whatever app is on the screen.
Sources familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal earlier this week that the iPhone 8 would ditch the Lightning port in favor of a USB Type-C connector. Apple is betting big on augmented reality, and the technology could be incorporated in the iPhone 8. According to UBS Securities analyst Steven Milunovich, Apple has more than 1,000 experts in Israel working on AR-related projects.