Apple granted patent, under-display Touch ID biometrics in the cards for iPhone 12?

Apple has been granted a patent for under-display Touch ID to read fingerprints optically, which means we may be looking at some new biometric security features in Apple’s iPhone 12 expected in 2020, reports 9 to 5 Mac.

Will it completely drop Face ID and rely on the under-display fingerprint sensor, or will Apple adopt both authentication methods? Older models of iPhones, iPads and MacBooks available on the market still have Touch ID sensors that use “advanced capacitive touch to take a high-resolution image from small sections of your fingerprint from the subepidermal layers of your skin,” according to Apple support.

While the new MacBook Air and MacBook 13- and 15-inch have a capacitive touch sensor, Patently Apple writes that, based on patent illustrations and text, the MacBook Pro 16-inch integrates an optical reader which could be used for under-display Touch ID.

According to the patent, the touch display may serve “as both an input device and a display,” while in itself “the display would cooperate with the controller to perform one or more device functions in response to input.” The display can be changed to open an application menu either by pressing the controller or through the touch display.

The optical image sensor responds to the user’s biometric data such as fingerprint patterns. The controller could authenticate the user by pairing acquired biometric image data with the biometric templates already in memory.

In December, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has already granted Apple 59 new patents including one of a biometric 3D Face ID system that uses eye and head tracking for advanced facial analysis in iDevices, Macs, and gaming. In another patent application, Apple discusses Face ID biometric matching with partial face images and in poor lighting conditions.

Opinions vary when it comes to biometric authentication. While some would argue that Face ID can deliver faster authentication, making it ideal for banking apps, others say the sensors take up too much space, thus under-display Touch ID could allow for other functions to be embedded in the display.

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