In February 2015 Patently Apple posted a report titled "Apple Introduces an Alternative Touch ID Method using Full-Display Fingerprint Sensors." Today, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that supports a display that integrates a finger biometric sensing layer so that Touch ID could be on an iOS device display surface and not restricted to traditional Home Button. This is certainly one of the inventions that time and time again pops up in rumors.
Apple notes in their filing that "An electronic device may include a touch display that includes at least one display layer, and at least one transparent conductive layer thereon defining touch sensing pixels. The electronic device may also include a finger biometric sensor carried by the touch display and that includes a finger biometric sensing layer that includes an array of transparent conductive finger biometric sensing pixels capacitively coupled to the at least one transparent conductive layer of the touch display.
The finger biometric sensor may also include a plurality of switchable transparent conductive blocking areas between the finger biometric sensing layer and the at least one transparent conductive layer of the touch display and that are selectively switchable between blocking and reading states. Accordingly, a finger biometric may be sensed during operation of the touch display.
The switchable transparent conductive blocking areas may include a plurality of spaced apart rectangular patches extending in a first direction of the array transparent conductive finger biometric sensing pixels. The finger biometric sensor may extend over an entire upper surface of the touch display, for example.
Apple patent applications 20160216813 and 20160216823 were originally filed in Q2 2015. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
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