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USPTO publishes Apple’s Touch ID patent application

The USPTO has just published a patent filed by Apple for its Touch ID sensor.

Specifically, the patent covers the sensor design, as well as the sapphire glass cover the sensor lies beneath. According to Apple Insider, the patent, called “Capacitive Sensor Packaging” includes an element to detect the proximity of a user’s fingerprint, the stainless steel ring that surrounds the home button and the glass cover.

The mention of embedding the sensor behind a “display element” has already stoked speculation about a sensor embedded behind a touchscreen in future devices.

The launch of the iPhone 5S, which included an integrated Touch ID sensor, has been surrounded by a lot of discussion about biometrics in consumer devices and in particular, what it means for the wider biometrics space.

Gartner recently warned smartphone manufacturers not to follow Apple’s example of embedding  a fingerprint  sensor, citing privacy and issues of consumer perception.

A total of 525 million smartphones with integrated fingerprint sensors will ship in 2017, up from 45.7 million in 2013, according to new research findings.

In fact, mobile users are expected to generate $8.3 billion in revenue for the overall biometrics industry by 2018.

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