Touch ID may return to iPhones under full display for dual biometrics

Touch ID may be returning to iPhones with an ultrasonic fingerprint sensing area covering the whole display, according to a new Apple patent filing spotted by AppleInsider.

The patent for “Acoustic pulse coding for imaging of input devices” describes the use of an array of transducers, possibly in rows of at the top and bottom of the screen or surrounding it, which transmit a signal when the display is touched. Reflections from multiple coded signals are captured by an image resolver to generate a fingerprint image.

This technique would reduce the required thickness of the in-display system, according to AppleInsider, as the transducers can be placed away from other components. Apple also suggests that the technology requires less processing power, and therefore could lead to increased matching speed and reduced complexity of display production.

Apple was previously granted a patent for an “Acoustic imaging system architecture” in 2017, and separate patents for both ultrasonic and full-display under-glass fingerprint sensors last year.

The next generation of iPhones are expected to feature upgraded Face ID, and recent patent filings by the company have shown dual biometric unlocking systems and applications involving identity credentials such as passports being stored on a secure element, which would require a high degree of security.

Extending the capabilities of the iPhone with dual biometrics may be a way for the company to revive its sales, which a recent note to investors warned are flagging in China.

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