Apple has filed a patent application that more or less confirms the rumors that have been swirling about its development of a touchscreen fingerprint scanner.
The patent is for a system that acquires fingerprint data from “finger biometric sensing pixels” embedded within a screen. It’s a bit abstract but the most obvious application of the technology would be the implementation of a fingerprint sensor within a touchscreen, presumably on the company’s signature iPhone device.
That would free up more space to be used any number of ways, the most salient being to increase the size of the iPhone screen by eliminating the physical home button that currently sits at the base of every iPhone, embedded with the current Touch ID fingerprint sensor system. Apple enjoyed really strong sales numbers for its iPhone 6 Plus with its significantly larger screen, so it would only make sense to take measures to further increase the device’s touchscreen real estate.
The system may also have applications on the Apple Watch, which has a necessarily limited screen size to begin with. Enabling Touch ID authentication on the screen itself could pave the way for an even more convenient means of making payments via Apple Pay, for example, in addition to many other potential applications. Of course, this is all theoretically a long way off; the company only just filed the patent application.
Source: Cult of Mac