Apple has been granted yet another patent for a fingerprint reader embedded underneath the display itself, a feature widely expected to debut on iPhone 8.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) this morning awarded the iPhone maker a patent for an “electronic device including finger biometric sensor carried by a touch display and related methods”. The company first applied for this patent on January 27, 2015.

Apple’s proposed system would let users authenticate themselves in apps faster than before, without requiring a dedicated Touch ID prompt. That’s because any interactions with apps would allow the embedded sensor to read the finger touching the display.

From Apple’s patent:

Where a fingerprint sensor is integrated into an electronic device or host device, for example, as noted above, it may be desirable to more quickly perform authentication, particularly while performing another task or an application on the electronic device.

In other words, in some instances it may be undesirable to have a user perform an authentication in a separate authentication step, for example switching between tasks to perform the authentication.

Apple’s in-screen reader may include an interconnect layer that has transparent conductive traces and a finger biometric sensing layer with an array of transparent conductive finger biometric sensing pixels capacitively coupled to at least one transparent conductive layer of the display.

Integrating Touch ID, other sensors and the front camera into the display might permit Apple engineers to remove the top and bottom chin from a future iPhone, potentially paving the way for a fresh iPhone design with a full-screen face.

Apple recently filed for another patent titled “Acoustic Imaging System Architecture,” a method for resolving an image of a fingerprint when a user touches the display.

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The proposed solution would generate acoustic waves (or pulses) propagating through an external surface of the display. The system would monitor reflections, attenuations and diffractions to those acoustic waves caused by the user’s fingerprint.

Source: USPTO

  • Bill

    Sounds all well and good, to be honest. However- I hope this does not eventually lead to the removal of the home button.

    • lemonhead

      it’s already gone in terms of hardware, what i mean by that is that the home button is now totally software dependent…

      so this is just the next step, personally i hope they keep the simple approach of having just one button (software or hardware) for invoking stuff.
      Android with it’s three buttons is just so impractical…

      • Rowan09

        It will still be hardware just beneath the screen. It’s the end of the iconic home button I believe and that’s why I think they introduced 3D Touch.

      • lemonhead

        obviously there is some kind of hardware inplace, otherwise there wouldn’t be anything to touch in the first place…

        but the important thing is that it is now “software dependent”, brick the software equals bricked phone…

        i wonder if they ever will go truely button less, since DFU Mode relys heavily on that

    • ravinigga

      Its kinda removed on the iPhone 7. U cannot press the button anymore.

      • Bill

        I forgot about that. 🙁 I really dislike software buttons. I’ll begrudgingly give the 7 a pass because it’s not part of the actual screen, but I still prefer an actual button.

      • ravinigga

        I know but the haptic feedback feels like u press the button.

  • Jay

    Touch anywhere on the screen for authentication will win.