Apple has been granted a new patent for an ultrasonic fingerprint scanning system that could be part of the basis for the iPhone 8’s rumored in-display Touch ID system.
As 9to5Mac reports, a previous Apple patent described ultrasonic imaging as the most accurate form of fingerprint recognition technology, given its capability of getting through contaminants like sweat or grease, and to avoid contortions from excessive or inadequate pressure from a finger during a scan. Its latest patent, which describes a “Biometric sensing device with discrete ultrasonic transducers”, appears to share some DNA with such previous designs, further underscoring Apple’s interest in ultrasonic imaging systems that could be embedded into a device’s display. It also jibes with a recent report asserting that Apple has opted to pursue an design revolving around an OLED display with an embedded, ultrasonic fingerprint scanning system for at least one device slated for release later this year.
The aim, of course, is to free up more real estate for a bigger screen on the front of the phone, an ambition shared by many smartphone makers. Samsung appears to be on track for an almost full-size display for its Samsung Galaxy S8, having apparently opted to put its fingerprint sensor on the back of the device; but if Apple can successfully bring its Touch ID system into the display itself – and have it be even more accurate and effective than previous iterations – that could help it to win a competitive advantage as both companies seek the prestige smartphone throne.