New patent reveals rumored iPhone 5S fingerprint sensor could be built into the display


According to rumors, iPhone 5S will come with a fingerprint sensor, which will be the key differentiator from the iPhone 5.

It has been widely speculated that the fingerprint sensor will be part of the Home button, which will reportedly be touch sensitive and covered with sapphire crystal.

But it looks like that’s not the only solution Apple is working on. A new patent application published by the The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on Thursday, reveals that Apple is also working on a solution, which involves including the fingerprint sensor in the display.

The patent describes a technology in which a sensor is used to trace a person’s finger and fingerprint and determine, based on that, if they have proper credentials. Apple’s patent application doesn’t go as far as including the security features that might come with it on the software side, but it’s clear what the technology is designed to do. [..]

[..] Apple’s technology is slightly different than those embodiments. Rather than use an attached hardware sensor, like most PCs do, Apple’s patent application allows users to place their fingers on a touch display. The company’s technology then analyzes the finger on a pixel-by-pixel basis to determine if it’s a match with the owner’s.

So it is quite possible that in the future, we will be able to unlock our iOS devices by simply swiping on the display, and the fingerprint sensor doing its magic in the background to ensure we don’t have to enter the passcode.

Interestingly, the redesigned Lock screen in iOS 7 seems to be a step in that direction as it allows you to unlock the device by swiping anywhere on the screen instead of swiping on the iconic “slide to unlock” slide button.

We’ve been a little apprehensive of fingerprint sensors in iOS devices, based on our experience with such sensors in laptops, so let’s hope that Apple’s comes up with a solution that just works, and doesn’t end up annoying us.

Let us know what you think in the comments below.

[Patently Apple via CNET]