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Apple wins patent for new Touch ID methods for a future iPhone that includes a mechanical slider button or a virtual on-display button

1 cover touch ID

Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially granted Apple a patent that relates to Touch ID possibly making a comeback on a future iPhone using one of several methodologies including a new "mechanical slider button" that could reside on the side or top of a future iPhone.

Turning on a future iPhone may include a mechanical slider button that has an embedded fingerprint scanner. The button is illustrated as #501 in patent FIG. 5A7 below.

2 Apple patent fig. 5A7 mechanical slider button with embedded fingerprint scanner

Apple further states that the slider button #501 is shown as a mechanical slider button, located on the side of an iPhone (#100), which can be pressed in, moved up, and/or moved down.

Although not shown, Apple notes that in some embodiments, button #501 is a mechanical button at another location on device such as the top of an iPhone (iPad, MacBook or other device) but could also be a virtual button (e.g., a virtual home button / slider button on the device's touch screen).

Apple's patent FIG. 5A7 illustrates displaying a preview of a lock screen when starting an activation of the button #501 and then displaying the lock screen when the activation of the button is completed. As shown in FIG. 5A7, an iPhone is initially in a locked state (e.g., with the screen turned off). When an initial portion of an input is detected on the button (e.g., an initial portion of a slide input upward on the button #501), an iPhone (device #100) displays a preview of the lock screen (e.g., preview user interface #505). When the input is completed on the button, the iPhone replaces the preview of the lock screen (e.g., preview user interface #505) with the lock screen (e.g., user interface #506).

On the other hand, if the input is not completed on the slide input button #501), the iPhone (device #100) ceases to display the preview of the lock screen (e.g., preview user interface #505) and returns to the locked state (e.g., with the screen turned off).

Getting to the heart of the patent, as noted above, is simple. Yet the patent dives deep into the mechanics and various details making it easy to get lost if you're not an engineer.

Apple also describes, in some scenarios, having the user touch the slider button in a particular sequence before the user's full home screen can be accessed.  

Here's to hoping that the option to have a fingerprint scanner under the display is the preferred method so as to make things easier. Yet with the iPad having the fingerprint scanner on its mechanical "On" button, we may see Apple stay consistent in their methodology.

On the other hand, the persistent rumors of virtual buttons or another form of solid state buttons coming to the iPhone may be the way Apple may want to upgrade the iPhone in the future, and this is covered in this patent.

Apple's patent starts with their first solid state Home Button with its embedded fingerprint scanner on an iPhone and then moves forward with future alternatives. For more finer details, review Apple's granted patent 11669171. Apple's granted patent shows that Apple's team has been working on this since 2017.

10.52FX - Granted Patent Bar

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