Apple Patents Illustrate In-Display Sensor Efforts

“The patents also point to a certain level of technological expertise on Apple’s part that could still come into play in future devices.”

Apple Patents Illustrate In-Display Sensor Efforts

Yet further evidence has emerged that Apple has been quietly exploring in-display fingerprint sensor technology for its iPhone devices.

It comes by way of newly published filings with the US Patent and Trademark Office. The key one illustrates how one of multiple fingerprints could be scanned through sensors embedded in the top cover of a display or under the covering layer. Another patent, meanwhile, depicts an ultrasonic touch sensor system that could be embedded in the sides or the rear of a mobile device, and would be able to read fingerprints in addition to detecting the touch information – not quite an in-display fingerprint scanning system, but something headed in that direction, especially given that the patent also shows the touch detection technology (though not the biometric aspect) embedded in the display of the device.

The existence of these patents doesn’t suggest Apple is still pursuing this technology, of course. The one pertaining to in-display scanning was filed back in Q3 of 2014 – not long after the launch of Touch ID – while the ultrasonic sensor patent was filed in the fourth quarter of that year. But it does further illustrate that Apple has explored in-display fingerprint sensor technology, and it offers a challenge to Apple’s claims after the launch of the face-scanning iPhone X that the company never considered bringing Touch ID into the device’s display, and was solely focused on facial recognition instead.

The patents also point to a certain level of technological expertise on Apple’s part that could still come into play in future devices. With rivals like Vivo now offering phones that can both scan faces and scan fingerprints through the display, Apple’s leadership might second-guess the ID of sticking exclusively with Face ID on forthcoming products – and these patents suggest they already have a foundation of R&D to build upon if they go in that direction.

Source: Patently Apple

May 29, 2018 – by Alex Perala