With the iPhone X, Apple went all-in with Face ID, its preferred biometric security system which is now used on every iPhone, as well as the new iPad Pro. While the company clearly has confidence in Face ID, a new patent reveals that it is keeping its options open when it comes to fingerprint-based solutions.
The patent – discovered by Apple Insider – is entitled “Acoustic pulse coding for imaging of input devices,” and sums up how sound could be used to detect how other objects touching the screen – in this case, that means a fingerprint could be ‘read’ by the display using this method.
The patent says that an array of ‘acoustic transducers’ are placed on the display, and each can transmit a code impulse signal when touch is detected. By keeping track of reflections from multiple coded signals, the display is capable of gathering this data and created an image based on it – in short, the sound impulses will hit the ridges of a person’s fingerprint and the display can ‘read’ the data to determine if the fingerprint is one it knows.
Not only does this mean that a fingerprint can be read anywhere on the display (other examples of in-screen scanners require you to place your finger on a specific section of the screen), it would also mean less bulky tech and – according to Apple – would be faster and less processor-intensive.
As ever, it’s wise to not read too much into a patent, as Apple – like many of its rivals – files loads of them every year and not all of these actually make it into real products. Still, it would seem that the company is looking for ways to improve its biometric security systems and even the most diehard Apple fan will admit that there are times when Face ID – impressive as it is – simply isn’t a good replacement.
If the company could find a way of including both Face ID and Touch ID in the same phone then it really would be the best of both worlds and would keep everyone happy – so watch this space.