Imagine how easy it would be to keep your iPhone secure if the “Slide to Unlock” slot was specifically calibrated to your touch? The idea of an iPhone with a built-in fingerprint sensor isn’t particularly new, but Apple just published a new patent detailing how this tech could be integrated directly into smartphone displays.
According to the patent’s background description of the product, an ideal scenario would include a “thin and transparent” finger-sensing area placed over the top of the display, with the integrated circuit sensor being placed elsewhere on the device. With this method, which was described as a “low quality fingerprint sensor,” it can be difficult to capture accurate biometric readings due to protective covers used over the display.
Apple’s invention, however, details a system that uses a “plurality of pixels” within the finger sensing region to generate accurate readings despite the finger sensing area’s placement on the display. Previous rumors have suggested that Apple could place a fingerprint sensor on the Home button of a device, although the newly published patent seems to confirm that Apple is experimenting with integrating this tech into iPhone displays.
Rumors of an iPhone with an integrated fingerprint sensor have been swirling ever since Apple acquired Authen Tec in 2012. While there’s no confirmation that this will turn up in the iPhone 5S, a recent report from Taiwan’s DigiTimes suggests that production could be delayed due to difficulties with the chips needed for both the fingerprint recognition and LCD drivers. When it comes to Apple’s next iPhone, the addition of a biometric fingerprint sensor has been one of the most persistent rumors along with a dual-flash camera and NFC capabilities.