Apple patent (fingerprint sensor encapsulation 001)

Is Apple preparing to offer fingerprint reading as part of its rumored iPhone 5S? That question returned Thursday after a patent from Apple describing a fingerprint-reading structure of sorts was approved by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

A number of theories exist on when a new iPhone will appear and what might be the key features. Today’s patent approval could solve both. The technology giant seems to have also cracked the question of how to scan a fingerprint while although protecting the delicate circuitry required to identify the owner…

A key to Apple patent is the encapsulation design, which both protects the actual sensor and permits such sensitive technology to live on a smartphone which must endure day-in-day-out abuse.

Apple’s patent application, filed in February and titled ‘Integrally molded die and bezel structure for fingerprint sensors and the like,’ a unitary encapsulation structure which protects a biometric sensor inside a device.

Apple patent (fingerprint sensor encapsulation 003)

An excerpt from the patent summary:

The die and the bezel are encased in a unitary encapsulation structure to protect those elements from mechanical, electrical, and environmental damage, yet with a portion of the sensor array and the bezel exposed or at most thinly covered by the encapsulation or other coating material structure.

Finding that protective sealant may be part of why expectations for a June shipping date for the iPhone 5S began slipping.

“The phone, widely referred to as the iPhone 5S, is expected to include new features such as a fingerprint sensor,” Reuters reported in April. “A supply chain source in Taiwan said Apple was trying to find a coating material that did not interfere with the fingerprint sensor, and this may be causing a delay”.

Apple patent (fingerprint sensor encapsulation 002)

Although the 2012 acquisition of biometrics provider Authentec first got tongues wagging about an iPhone with fingerprint-reading capabilities, more evidence surfaced with this latest patent.

Among the inventors Apple credited with developing the encapsulated sensor: Giovanni Gozzini.

Gozzini works for STMicroelectronics, which along with building the gyroscope used by the iPhone 5 also has fingerprint sensor patents.

  • Patrick

    when do you reckon we can expect the 5s?, i’m hoping it will come out the same day as IOS 7 or shortly after just like the 5

    • Gorgonphone

      i dont care cause i am skipping it and the ipad5 also

      • hjr9890

        wow answered the question perfectly!

      • Yash Gorana

        Oh you are back. Welcome back, hater.

      • Gorgonphone

        Um what am i hating? I have iphone5 and ipad4 and mac book pro 3 wonderful devices ! I dont need a 5s or an i pad 5 especially if they have no jailbreak

      • Yash Gorana

        misinterpreted you has fandroid. apologies.

    • hjr9890

      and I would say mid-September based on previous releases.

      • Patrick

        i really hope that aswell, i dont think my iphone 4s battery will last any longer unless i get it replaced

  • Hyr3m

    Yaaay! I can’t wait to have my (criminal record-less) fingerprints stored in a government-accessible database!!

    • Kurt

      haha I didn’t think about it, but yeah, it will be immediately uploaded to NSA’s servers. You know, for your protection, to fight terrorism.

      • Frozen Bee .GFKS

        haha! wel, if there will be great fingerprint sensor on new iP, NSA can take my fingerprints right now! i don’t mind, since i never lived/was in America 😀 so they’re useless for them anyway

      • Hyr3m

        I wasn’t talking about the American government specifically…

      • Frozen Bee .GFKS

        well, our government(Czech Republic) doesn’t need to do this kind of stuff…but still, i dont think it will be sensor like this(that it will actually scan your finger print), it would be super-expensive…it will be probably like on some laptops

      • BoardDWorld

        or a super expensive phone?

      • Hyr3m

        a fingerprint reader is a fingerprint reader… the question is “where do they store the info”. Laptops with fingerprint readers probably store it locally and M$ might have access to that somehow but that’s not for sure… When it comes to Apple and their “philo-miso-sophy”, you can be sure your fingerprints will be saved on the cloud and easily accessible to the powers that be wherever in the world they may be.

    • lemonhead

      The Government already has my finger prints do to the traveling to the USA … Which u need a biometric passport for

      • Gorgonphone

        mine too lol

      • Hyr3m

        If I ever have to cross the US border again I’ll just drive in from Canada ^^
        btw I didn’t mean the US government specifically… I meant pretty much any “western” country’s government… they are just small organizations made out of members of a much bigger and more powerful international organization… They all serve the same masters and all feel like laws don’t apply to them, except that of the survival of the fittest/strongest/meanest.

    • Maxim∑

      so every time a company releases something cool were going to get these “NSA” comments……..

      • Gorgonphone

        yeah cause this cool product allows the feds to collect your fingerprint from apple in the name of what ever

      • Hyr3m

        You should be grateful some people are awake and talk about the truth… if you want blinding propaganda you should go on so-called “major news outlets”.

    • Gorgonphone

      yup sad

  • Gorgonphone

    i will be turning this off and placing a pice of tape over this damn sensor..

    • BoardDWorld

      Might as well cover that front camera too, block the mic. dig out the GPS & WIFI.

  • Ethan Humphrey

    Cool! Now i need to remember 1 less password!