NFC/fingerprint sensor patent tips off exciting iPhone 5S Home button potential

By , Sep 9, 2013

Home_Button_patent

Much has been made about the highly-expected iPhone 5S containing a fingerprint sensor within the Home button. Other talk has surrounded the promise of Near Field Communications (NFC) and Apple’s off-and-on interest in the technology. It appears both a fingerprint sensor and NFC may join together to turn the next iPhone into an electronic wallet and more.

According to a new Apple patent that’s surfaced in Europe, the iPhone 5S may include an updated Home button encircled by a ring which detects your finger. But this super-charged Home button also adds NFC, potentially replacing passwords and enabling secure wireless e-commerce, next-generation docks and other exciting opportunities…

By using a ring that is capacitive, your finger’s presence is detected just as in the case of your iPhone’s screen, without the need to press the Home button to initiate a fingerprint scan. Such a design appeared in supposed iPhone 5 packing from China.

Also, by linking that fingerprint data with NFC technology, the patent could give new life to contactless payments. Although convenient, the inability of contactless payments to link a credit card with the card holder has held back the technology’s expansion beyond small purchases.

The European patent, discovered yesterday by PatentlyApple, also calls for optical input/output sensors built right into the Home button that may gather fingerprint data optically, but also use the optical structures of the fingerprint sensor to communicate with external equipment, such as docks.

“Apple notes that the docking accessory may be implemented using a stand­-alone housing or it may be incorporated into a vertical or horizontal slot in an automobile system, a stereo system, television, or other kind of equipment,” PatentlyApple writes.

Hybrid_sensor_dock

A next-generation dock, depicted in the patent drawing above, would enable wireless NFC signals to be conveyed between the iPhone’s Home button and NFC structure located in the dock itself.

You’d dock your iPhone such that the Home button lines up with the optical sensors built into the dock. The dock would need no USB or Lightning connector and could be built into next-gen Apple TV devices, car infotainment systems and more.

Not to mention totally rethinking the need for passwords, another potential use for this combination fingerprint sensor and NFC transmissions is supercharging Apple’s current Passbook application.

The patent described could allow you to store your fingerprint data, sending it along with any barcode to help vendors identify not only that the credit card, airline ticket or other item is valid, but that your are the rightful owner.

The NFC + fingerprint sensor combo used in conjunction with Macs could theoretically bolster up security of Apple’ AirDrop wireless file transfer technology, built into OS X Mountain Lion and coming to compatible iOS devices with the release of iOS 7.

iPhone 5S (silver rounded Home button, Martin Hajek 001)
LED-illuminater fingerprint-scanning iPhone 5S Home button concept by Martin Hajek.

Although the patent application was first filed in 2012, its only recent discovery in Europe reveals Apple is continuing the practice of initially keeping its connection under wraps.

By using the name of a little-known inventor or Apple employee as the initial assignee, any searches for Apple would not uncover the patent. This suggests Apple views the technology as potentially valuable for future licensing.

  • Share:
  • Follow:
  • Reed Kitchens

    Is there any updated news about the event tomorrow? Like will it be live streamed?

    • Lagax

      Apple was live-streaming every event since last year. So most propably yes.

      • Reed Kitchens

        I just remember an earlier article by IDB saying that apple hadn’t announced if they were going to or not but did announce about the China event. So i was just curious. Thanks

    • Nour Khaled

      All I know it will be 10am

      • Kurt

        Think that will be 2am here

      • Nour Khaled

        I read it from a site will cover the event

      • Mark

        No banners this time?

      • Moi

        What’s that site ? c’mon hurry up tell us !

  • FOFF

    eh…. i dont want NFC

    • Kurt

      But at least you’ll have your beautiful iOS 7

      • Lagax

        Haha good one sir.

      • FOFF

        yeah lol

    • Linton Findlay

      nfc is more useful than just payments, it can be tied with nfc stickers to control settings ect. for example put on in the car, disable wifi, open up maps

      • Lagax

        That’s all possible with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, too. And NFC is just pure shit companies like samsung use to sat ‘ouh we have NFC’. I don’t wanna see apple saying that. Non-nouveau.

      • FOFF

        yeah ji just dont get the NFC thing…

      • FOFF

        oh like external Digital triggers

      • Linton Findlay

        yhh stickers can be programmed to do nearly anything to the phone, even if apple doesnt take this on board i presume a jailbreak tweak will

      • Dan

        Yeah those stickers are really useful. I have one at work, on my bedstand and front door. Does things like turn on/off wifi, ringer volume, alarm clock etc.

  • D.

    As much as I love the whole finger scanner idea, it’s something I definitely won’t use. Apple knowing my location at all times is enough I think. Argh, still love you though Apple.

    • Osama Muhammed

      just like siri, trends for a couple of months and bam

      • Raul M

        Holy fuk I juz realized ever since I bought my iphone 5 I haven’t used Siri at all:o well except when I’m walking and my iphone is in my pocket and listinin to music and I hold the pause button and ask it to shuffle all my songs lol

  • Ahmad Abdullatif

    I want 12 or 13 mixapixel tomrow

    • FOFF

      i want DSLR quality images

      • Kurt

        Get a phone that has manual settings. There’s a number of them and they really do improve the quality of the pics quite a bit.

      • FOFF

        iPhone is the best

      • D.

        I’d prefer better battery life

      • Saeed Ghattas

        Get a DSLR camera then.

      • FOFF

        but why cant a cell phone have similar images quality?

      • James

        many reasons.

      • Saeed Ghattas

        Are you serious? You should then get a DSLR camera that can make calls!!!

      • James

        Then buy a dslr.

    • Lagax

      Yeah, that would be the least. I mean seriously: there is nothing worth upgrading with what we know yet about the 5S.

      • Saeed Ghattas

        Just wait for it… You haven’t heard anything.. Yet..

  • Dan

    Fingerprint scanning sure sounds cool, but I don’t see it as a ‘killer’ feature I would need on my phone. It’s not something that would make me want to get the phone by itself.

    • Reed Kitchens

      Faster processor alone makes me want to get the new phone. Might as well. I have an upgrade

      • Dan

        I’m leaning towards getting a phone with a super camera (like the sony xperia z1), I find I don’t care that much about apps anymore. If Apple really steps up in that aspect, I’ll be tempted.

      • mehrab

        See the pics the xperia z took. In commercials looked flawless in reality it was so horrible. Want a super camera? Go nokia 1020. And the iphone 5′is a better camera the the xperia Z and the 5s will be the same againt the z1 just please dont let specs get to you

      • Guest

        How are you not banned from commenting on this site? Literally every comment I have read that you have posted is something hating on Android. We get it, you do not like Android.

        You must feel your iPhone is inferior to Android in some ways or else you wouldn’t feel so inclined to be on a mission to prove that the iPhone is better.

      • mehrab

        We werent really talking about android we were taking about the hardware specs of the xperia Z i dont like touchwiz or sense i like stock android but i prefer ios. I own alot of android products too. I never say i hated them. What i said up there is actually true ypu should test it out yourself someday.

      • FOFF

        the iphone5 is already more than fast enough for what its small screen lets you do with it

    • Saeed Ghattas

      Lets hear what apple have before you decide if it’s a killer feature or not!

      • Dan

        It’s just my opinion, who knows, Apple may surprise us :)
        I just hope they have more than a finger scanner

  • Markus Hudobnik

    Ehh fingerprint sensor isn’t that great… But still useful I guess. I would enjoy NFC/LED ring more

  • Ahmad Abdullatif

    What are

    DSLR quality images

    • FOFF

      high end digital cameras used in professional photography.

  • Roboter

    Red Ring Of Death :D

  • Guest

    What about finally bringing USB 3.0 into lightning cabel!?

  • Maxim∑

    Innovation is back

  • TeChNoStyLeZ

    will the ring around the home button have a led light ?? Thats gonna be so awesome

  • omrishtam

    i still dont get why this is so neccesery….

    • FOFF

      me either

    • MR

      You can use it to unlock your phone instead of the typical 4 digits number. Faster and easier.

    • Rowan09

      It’s just extra security that’s all and they need some new feature for the 5S.

  • pnh

    Awesome. I was going to mail the NSA my fingerprints to go with every other bit of data they have on me. I guess they’ll be able to pick it right off my iPhone now.

    • Jesse peters

      Your fingerprints are taken when you are born, get a driver’s license or get arrested(hopefully never happens). So NSA already has it.

    • FOFF

      they already have you finger prints

  • GuyBey0ndC00L

    Finger print scanner is pretty cool feature. This will definitely help make iDevices more secure. I very wanted a bigger screen, but I knew it wasn’t gonna happen.

    • Rowan09

      Wait for the iPhone 6 S upgrades are internal updates.

      • GuyBey0ndC00L

        I know, but why should I have to wait.

      • Rowan09

        S upgrades are just internal, no company comes out with new designs every year, so you can’t expect for Apple or any company to change how they do things just because. I believe the 6 is going to be something serious. I’m interested to see what the 5S can do and also interested in the 5C as well for my homeland Jamaica

      • GuyBey0ndC00L

        I know of this sad truth about upgrades already I was just hoping. It’s cool iPhone 5C is just an iPhone 5 with colored back plates.

  • Karan Nagpal

    this sounds awesome
    cant wait for tommorow !!

  • Tom Brady

    Honestly that fingerprint scanner is starting to deter me

    • -_-

      U guys r kidding me right??? Iphone is so retarted. If u want a real phone go get the samsung gs4

  • AppsAndGo

    Lol, Let me take a crack at it..

    The ring is part of a mechanism that allows you turn the home button,
    If it’s not turned, it doesn’t scan!
    Otherwise, I’d be paranoid touching such a button.

    Watch Tim say tomorrow: “if you don’t turn it, it can never scan.”.
    You can take me up on it tomorrow.
    Apps&Go