Recent reports claim that Apple is looking to eliminate the need for a physical “home” button on future iPhones by integrating Touch ID fingerprint sensors into the main display. Now we have the patent application to prove it!
Published Thursday, Cult of Mac got its hands on a patent application entitled “Fingerprint Biometric Sensor Including Drive Signal Level Updating,” which reveals how Apple has been exploring processing circuitry capable of acquiring fingerprint data by using special “sensing pixels” within screens.
The application describes how these finger biometric sensing pixels would be “based upon the updated drive signal level” and operate “with the [user’s] finger positioned adjacent the array of finger biometric sensing pixels.”
The display Apple describes would probably be an LCD display like those used in the present-generation iPhone, although it doesn’t rule out other types of display like the rumored OLED screens the company is reportedly investigating.
By eliminating Touch ID as a component of the “home” button, Apple would be able to to free up more space for enlarging the iPhone’s display, without having to increase the physical size of the devices in order to do so.
Earlier this week we noted that Apple is looking to bring more of its chip design in-house — with one of these reportedly being a single-chip solution for handling both the touchscreen and display drivers for future iPhones.
Apple’s new patent application was filed in December 2013.