Patent filing details iPhone switch from home button with fingerprint sensor to gestures and Face ID

A recently published patent filing by Apple in Europe covers the transition the company made to replace the traditional home button with responses to biometric and gesture input for the iPhone X, Patently Apple reports.

Eliminating the home button moved Apple much closer to the full-screen or ‘infinity’ display smartphones have been gradually moving towards, but created the challenge of how to provide users with a convenient way to perform common interactions, such as returning to the device’s home screen. Removing the home button also displaced the fingerprint sensor which previous iPhone models had used for Touch ID.

Those actions are now performed mostly through contact with the touch-screen display and biometrics, as the filing describes: “In some embodiments, user authentication (e.g., biometric authentication such as a fingerprint, facial detection, iris scan or input pattern authentication such as a password, passcode, or touch input pattern) is required by the device in order to transition from the locked state to the unlocked state.”

The 237-page patent application was originally filed in Q2 2018.

Apple has continued to integrate Face ID into more devices, and models launched in 2019 are expected to feature a more powerful flood illuminator to improve the technology’s performance in difficult lighting conditions.

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