The next wave of iPhone biometric authentication could involve the reading of user fingerprints directly via an Apple fingerprint scanner in touchscreen and displays. That’s according to a newly granted patent for what seems like a revival of Apple’s Touch ID biometric authentication technology.
The iPhone could also be used to capture the characteristics of user’s ears, map it, and use it as another biometric authentication technique
According to a report from Patently Apple, the patent — number 10,275,638 and entitled Methods of Biometric Imaging of Input Surfaces — relates to a “a possible Touch ID alternative methodology that will allow users to simply touch the display of an iDevice for biometric authentication.” The report also says that the patent involves an “acoustic imaging system (that) may be configured to resolve an image of a fingerprint of a user contacting an input surface of an electronic device by mapping the ridges of the user’s fingerprint to the input surface.”
Apple fingerprint scanner in touchscreen on horizon
The patent indicates that the Apple biometric fingerprint scanner would be built into the display of an iPhone (the patent reportedly includes diagrams of an iPhone but no other Apple devices), which could be roughly similar to the biometric authentication set-up on other mobile devices, reportedly including the new Samsung Galaxy S10. Apple introduced iPhone Touch ID in 2013 and also has offered Touch ID fingerprint authentication on some of it computers. Since then, Apple has deployed facial recognition authentication technology — that is, Face ID — as its biometric authentication of choice.
In the patent application, according to the report, “Apple further notes that an acoustic imaging system can be configured to map the biometrically-unique features of a user finger for size, shape, skin patterns, and scar patterns and so on.” The Apple patent also hints at other biometric authentication possibilities. “Apple also oddly notes, that as far as the iPhone goes, the system could also be used to capture the characteristics of user’s ears, map it, and use it as another biometric authentication technique.”
The Apple fingerprint scanner in touchscreen patent reportedly was filed nearly three years ago, in the third quarter of 2013. Any new fingerprint scanner on Apple devices as a result of the technology described in the patent would presumably also help consumers not only unlock their devices but make mobile payments and otherwise perform other online biometric authentication tasks.
The patent looks similar to an early patent awarded for an Apple fingerprint scanner in touchscreen back in 2017.