iPhone 8’s Entire Display Could Be a Fingerprint Scanner

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Apple has been granted a patent on Tuesday that could help the company to kill off Touch ID’s reliance on the Home button for good.

The patent in question, No. 9,582,102, describes a technology that could potentially allow a user to authenticate their fingerprint by tapping anywhere on an iPhone’s screen. Specifically, the patent calls for a screen to be made out of several layers — including a display layer, one or more conductive layers, and a biometric sensing layer that could read fingerprints. This layer would feature biometric sensing pixels coupled to the transparent conductive layer or layers.

While this biometric layer could be installed on a single portion of the touch display — like where the Home button would normally be — the patent also points out that the sensor could extend over the entire surface of the touch display, allowing users to utilize Touch ID by placing their finger anywhere on the screen.

In addition to potentially doing away with the home button, the patent also points out that this method could allow for faster authentication. Instead of having to perform “a separate authentication step,” a user’s fingerprint would automatically be sensed, even while performing another task on the device.

There’s plenty of evidence and rumors surrounding the fact that Apple’s 10th anniversary iPhone will be the company’s first flagship to ditch the home button for good. In October, Apple was granted another patent that could help solve the accuracy issues inherent in a display-embedded biometric scanner. Earlier this month, another patent was discovered that described a Touch ID sensor being embedded within a display. That patent’s original inventor was LuxVue, a company that Apple acquired in 2014.

Patent No. 9,572,102 was first filed for in January 2015, and was made public on Feb. 28 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Its principal inventor is credited as Dale R. Setlak, who is the co-founder of biometric startup AuthenTec, yet another company that Apple acquired in 2012.

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