On January 15, 2015, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a series of three patent applications from Apple that detail the specifics behind Apple Pay via Touch ID. The patent filings meticulously detail how the system will work with making future banking transactions or at current participating retailers and for purchasing apps and other digital media online via the App Store, iTunes and future online stores. The sole inventor behind all three patents that were originally filed in 2013 is Apple's software engineer Greg Kerr who came to Apple via the Authentec acquisition. Greg was VP of Software Development at Authentec.
On Jan 8, 2015, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals certain aspects of the technology behind fingerprint sensors that measure fingerprint patterning using electric field sensing. Apple notes that when the voltages on the finger are too high, as when using Touch ID, certain persons with very sensitive fingers may feel that voltage in form of a slight tingling. Apple's invention shows Apple's work on this problem that likely took place prior to Touch ID coming to market.
On December 18, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals a new unlock option being devised. The new method would involve Touch ID and the addition of a combination lock code using finger motion. While using Touch ID, the user would additionally move or shift their finger in various directions to hit a particular code sequence to unlock their devices. Apple illustrates two methods for this new virtual combination unlock feature in their patent filing.