There have been rumors about a new Touch ID sensor this month and today two patent applications from Apple surface concerning updates to Apple's new fingerprint feature. The first generally relates to circuits that may be used to support fingerprint sensing, including boost circuits, such as inductive boost circuits. The second relates to circuits and packaging for fingerprint sensors.
Only a few Apple inventions per week out of dozens filed present fresh ideas of things to come. Today we published an interesting one about future iWallet security features. Beyond this main invention, we noticed a few other inventions that might interest a few Apple fans. In March Apple was sued in a class action lawsuit by the blind and we pointed out how Apple has done more for the disabled than any other tech company. Then a report in July surfaced about how the disabled wanted Apple to do more for them. Today, two new inventions have come to light that will assist the disabled in different ways at some point in the future on both iDevices and Macs. Another hot topic of late has been the EU's blind attack on Apple regarding In-App transactions. Today a new patent application surfaces that covers the inner workings of Apple's In-App program. And lastly, another invention was published today covering more about Apple's Touch ID fingerprint enrollment feature.
There have been rumors of an improved fingerprint sensor in the works for the iPhone 6 and perhaps the next versions of the iPad of late. The rumors hinted that Apple's next batch of fingerprint sensors would be more durable than the Touch ID home button on current iPhones. Today, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple titled "Finger Sensor including Encapsulating Layer over Sensing Area and related Methods" that may very well support the latest rumors. According to the patent filing, the improved biometric sensor could advantageously have the ability to reduce packaging while providing mechanical robustness.
On June 19, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published patent applications from Apple related to advancing Apple cameras for iDevices and Macs along with another original Touch ID patent that Apple acquired from Authentec. Apple's camera related patent is about advancing the actuator of an autofocus feature. While it's mildly interesting, it's the use of the term "artificial muscle" that makes it sound so incredibly futuristic, but really isn't. Apple notes that the term simply relates to electro-active polymer actuators which have been around for some time. Apple's use of it in a camera module isnt' new either as noted here and here. When this technology is applied to an artificial robotic hand, for instance, it could be understood why they use the term artificial muscle as seen here. And finally, a second patent of mild interest published today relates to one that Apple acquired from Authentec that presents the invention behind Touch ID authentication that focused on the biometrics being imlplemented into a smartphone Home Button.
On May 29, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple titled "Biometric Sensor for Human Presence Detection and Associated Methods." The object of this present invention is to provide human presence verification with increased speed and accuracy, and with reduced user interaction using biometrics.
On April 24, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a series of three patent applications from Apple that revisits the many authentication systems that Apple is working on beyond just a fingerprint scanner. Apple touches on retinal scanning, eye tracking, voice prints and other systems for the iPhone and MacBook Pro alike. For the MacBook Pro, the biometric sensor could be built right into a familiar keyboard key or in the palm rest. Lastly, Apple adds retina scans to one of their patents patent claims to ensure that it's a protected future feature option.
On April 17, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published two new biometric related patent applications from Apple. While one invention delves into various methods that Apple's Touch ID may be using today or could be using in the future, the other introduces us to a new and unique anti-spoofing measure that they aptly call the "Doodle" mode that could be used with the iPhone and/or future Macs.
On Mar 06, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple titled "Wireless Pairing and Communication between Devices Using Biometric Data." The patent reveals that information exchanged between devices such as an iPhone and Mac may one day use biometrics to perform a connection between the devices. While it adds another layer of security it also simplifies the process by not requiring any passwords. Apple states that other forms of biometric security may be used in the future, such as retinal scanning, facial recognition and more.
On January 16, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals a new sensor system that covers a fingerprint module and beyond. Apple's invention hints that the new sensor system could be applied to a great number of devices including an iMac, TV, MacBook and/or peripheral. Specifically the invention notes the possibility of using a touch screen to replace a MacBook touchpad and/or adding a touchscreen to a future keyboard.
To kick off the New Year, we get to see an overview of Apple's biometrics road-map. While Apple launched the iPhone 5S in September 2013 with the surprising Touch ID feature, Apple is already working on possible new ways of advancing biometrics in future devices including the iPad, Macs and even a possible application for the iPod. A lot of what Apple reveals here today relates directly to several new security measures for both consumer and enterprise markets. Report Updated 11:30 AM MST
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 23 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover five design patents that were granted to Apple today in addtion to focusing on one key invention relating to an embedded heart rate monitor. The invention states that beyond it being embedded into a future iPhone, the heart rate monitor could be embedded into an accessory. Earlier this year Apple's CEO and other team members were spotted wearing Nike's Fuel band. This led to speculation that Apple's newly published wristband computer invention (that is popularly thought of as a future wearable computer or iWatch) would be an ideal device for embedding a health monitoring system. That makes this granted patent a possible key component of any such future device.
On November 28, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published two patent applications from Apple that reveal more details about the new Touch ID fingerprint scanner that's been incorporated into the Home Button of the iPhone 5S. The patent applications delve into extending the range of electric field based finger sensors so that they could image fingers through significantly thicker dielectric materials such as molded plastic structures. The patents also detail many other technical aspects behind Apple's Touch ID.
When Apple introduced the new iPhone 5S with its Touch ID fingerprint scanner feature, Dan Riccio, Senior VP Hardware Engineering stated at the 2:19 mark of Apple's introductory video that "All fingerprint information is encrypted and stored inside a secure enclave in our new A7 chip. Here it's locked away from everything else, accessible only by the Touch ID sensor. It's never available to other software, and it's never stored on Apple servers or backed up to iCloud." One of Apple's latest patent applications published by the US Patent and Trademark Office reveals the mechanics and thinking behind this "secure enclave" and more.
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.