Patently Apple was first to reveal Apple's Touch ID patents in Europe just days before Apple unveiled this new feature in the iPhone 5S in September. Today, the US Patent & Trademark Office published another Touch ID related patent application from Apple that covers the circuits and packaging for fingerprint sensors.
On October 17, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals more details behind Apple's new Touch ID fingerprint scanner. Apple reveals that they added a method to the sensor that would allow it to scan a fingerprint at a much higher resolution than other sensors on the market without electrically shocking the finger. Apple also notes that their Touch ID technology could eventually apply to an iPad, MacBook and beyond. Technically speaking, Apple's patent relates to circuits that may be used to support fingerprint sensing, including boost circuits, such as inductive boost circuits.
Leading up to Apple's iPhone event yesterday was exciting. Patently Apple first discovered and posted a report last Saturday detailing a phenomenal new Apple patent filing which detailed a secret fingerprint scanner project. One that would hide a fingerprint scanner right under Apple's famed Home button. When Apple revealed Touch ID at their iPhone Event yesterday, it was such a buzz. It may only be a security feature and one that will work seamless with future e-commerce applications, but the genius of how they implemented this is what makes it such a cool breakthrough. Powered by Apple's new A7 chip with a 64-bit architecture, this incredibly advanced feature came to life. It's so advanced and yet so simple. It's so advanced and yet invisibly seamless. It's this kind of legendary thinking that makes Apple the true innovator that they are.
It's official. Apple's iPhone 5S sports a fingerprint scanner that Apple is calling Touch ID. Being that this new feature was so important, we wanted to wait until Apple officially unveiled it and explained it before releasing our new report. Take a look back at Apple's biometric patent applications as they unfolded starting back in 2009 and then quickly ramping up eleven months ago until their latest patent which was only revealed a few days ago. What an exciting journey it's been – and it's only begun!
Earlier today Patently Apple posted a report covering a new fingerprint scanner that could be incorporated into the Home button of future iDevices. This patent application was discovered in Europe yesterday by Patently Apple. A number of lawyers have shown interest in seeing Apple's patent claims and so we've put together this secondary report spelling out Apple's 27 patent claims. Additionally, we've enclosed several new patent figure graphics that were difficult to include in our earlier report. While we're optimistic about this new feature coming to market shortly, you never know what Apple will debut or leave on the table for another day. That's why Apple's iPhone event this week is going to be an exciting one to watch.
When Apple revealed the iPhone 5 last year, many were confused as to why Apple didn't include NFC technology. Apple's VP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller stated at the time that it wasn't clear that NFC was the solution to any current problem. That was a nice misdirection Phil, really. Because as Phil was saying that, Apple had already filed for a wild fingerprint sensor/NFC patent that he was fully aware of. Patently Apple discovered this new patent application in Europe yesterday. The patent filing details an incredible fingerprint scanner with advanced integrated NFC circuitry that will deliver features that no one saw coming! When Phil Schiller gave the Mac faithful a peek at the coming Mac Pro tower this fall, he blurted out: Apple "can't innovate anymore – My Ass!" Well, it appears that Apple may show the world a little more innovation Apple-style next week when they unveil the iPhone 5S. It may even include a newly designed Home Button with an integrated fingerprint scanner and much more. Report Updated 2:30 PM PST. Report Updated September 09, 2013, 6 PM MST
In July Patently Apple posted a report revealing one of the patent applications that Apple gained in their acquisition of AuthenTec. Today, Patently Apple reveals a second patent application that Apple gained in their acquisition that was filed in Europe. There were a few interesting findings in this patent. One of them reveals that Apple's future fingerprint scanner has a security feature built-in that will be able to sense "live tissue" so as to reduce spoofing.
Apple has been working on biometric sensors for fingerprint scanners for iDevices and the MacBook since at least 2009. In 2010 we reported that Apple was working on a fingerprint scanner that could work under a device's display and in late 2012 Apple revealed their fingerprint scanner for use as an e-commerce and general security feature for the iPhone. Today, the US Patent and Trademark Office revealed Apple's latest alternative fingerprint scanner design that could be integrated directly into the bezel of a given device. In operation, a user will simply swipe a finger over a surface of the sensor. The sensor will capture a number of thin strips of the fingerprint as the finger is swiped, and the complete fingerprint is assembled in software for use in authentication. Such a sensor apparatus is typically preferred when a compact sensor is desired.
Every once and a while a very cool idea emerges in a patent that puts a smile on our faces just because we know that Jony Ive and his team (the Crazy Ones) have come up with yet another aesthetically minded industrial design. Today's little gem hits on a number of interesting things. Firstly, Apple has designed a display that could conceal or reveal hidden components behind a display such as a camera and strobe flash so that they could be eliminated as physical features on an iPhone, iPad or other computer. Apple states that "Placing components that would typically be found on the surface of an electronic device enclosure behind a transparent display may increase the surface real-estate of the enclosure for a larger display or additional components. Further, the aesthetics of the electronic device may be greatly enhanced by not cluttering the device enclosure with always-visible components, but instead creating a more seamless electronic device where the components are only visible when they are in use." Secondly, beyond the camera and strobe flash, there's an additional key component that Apple wants to conceal that's noteworthy, and that's a fingerprint scanner.
On November 8, 2012, the US Patent & Trademark Office published two security related patent applications from Apple. One reveals the secrets behind the security cables found attached to all devices at every Apple Store on the planet. The second security patent provides us with a serious look at a new adaptive security system for iDevices that will work easily for the regular home user while being able to be ramped right up to a multi-tiered high security level that could utilize retinal scans and other forms of biometrics that would be ideal for the savvy enterprise user.
On Tuesday Apple was granted a patent for a two-step unlock screen feature that has yet to be implemented. Today, Apple introduces us to an all-new unlock screen feature that utilizes higher integrated security features via biometrics that could also be used in e-Commerce transactions. In late September we reported on Intel's big push into building biometrics into future Wintel devices – and so it comes as no surprise that we now find that Apple has been refining next wave e-Commerce security features using highly sophisticated biometrics. To accelerate their biometric projects Apple recently acquired AuthenTec in July. The race is definitely on to get consumers ready for the next wave of e-Commerce transactions and to ensure that they're processed securely.
During Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference last week in Toronto, Canada, Steve Ballmer vowed that they weren't "going to leave any space uncovered to Apple." He later added that "We have our advantages in terms of enterprise management," and then shouted "But we are not going to let any piece of this [go uncontested to Apple]," reported CRN. So why is Microsoft freaking out now? Because Apple is getting a little too close to home base. Back in January Peter Oppenheimer stated that the iPad was continuing "its unprecedented adoption in business. Nearly all the top companies, within major Fortune 500 markets, including pharma, manufacturing, hospitality, consumer products, financial services, healthcare and retail are actively using iPad to improve workflows, business processes and customer engagement." Some of the companies that Oppenheimer pointed out included the likes of Royal Dutch Shell, Credit Suisse, Kimberly-Clark, St. Jude Medical, Nike, Danske Bank and Facebook. Adding to this, John Paczkowski of All ThingsD reported that 95% of the tablets going into the Fortune 500 Companies were iPads. Is it clear enough that Apple is focusing on the Fortune 500 and the enterprise market in general? If it's not, then consider a new round of high profile security patent applications published this past week by the US Patent Office that reveals that Apple is developing new features to work with the already high end Advanced Encryption Standard approved by the US Government. So it's no wonder Mr. Ballmer was freaking out this past week. The one time consumer-centric company called Apple is now on the warpath toward the enterprise at full throttle with iOS leading the charge. So yes Mr. Ballmer, we get it, you just woke up and you're freaking out. So enough with talk, let the war games begin. But for now, we'll take a look at Apple's new security patents.
On February 10, 2012, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals a hot 3D eye-tracking based interface that will be used for gaming, digital photography and videography, biometrics and surveillance applications while being an OS feature option for iOS devices and Apple's iMac. The technology may work in conjunction with Apple's previous work on 3D which touched on head tracking and unique ambient light feature technologies. Apple wowed us earlier this year with a patent which demonstrated that they're paving the way for a new 3D GUI. Today's patent adds fuel to that fire. Apple's 3D GUI patent trend is really picking up momentum and you have to wonder when they'll release this beast into the wild!
Make no mistake about it. As we move closer to a point in time when the iPhone could double as an iWallet, security will be the killer feature that consumers will demand. Two weeks ago Apple introduced us to one of their future security systems that will handle auto login using advanced facial recognition technology. That'll be great for iDevices not handling important documents and/or financial instruments such as debit and/or credit. For that, Apple has invented a heavy duty second tier of security that is quite ingenious. The key rests in splitting a user's password recovery secret amongst two devices that are never carried together at one time. And you know it's a serious security project at Apple when Bud Tribble, Apple's VP of Software Technology, is the man behind this endeavor.
On December 29, 2011, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that revealsone of the next chapters for device security. In 2009, Apple's presence detection patent first came to light in relation to future MacBooks. Then in November of this year, Apple revealed a heavy duty 3D face and object recognition system that could be used for home and enterprise security applications. In today's revelations, Apple introduces us to a more down to earth and practical security system for our portable devices. For simple home or personal use, the system could be setup to recognize your presence and face to quickly turn on your device. This would bypass the need for entering a password or even having to touch the home button to get to your homepage. For use at work, the facial recognition system could be set to higher levels of security. All in all it sounds like a very promising security system is in our future.