New iPhone Patent Suggests Touch ID May Live on in a Different Form

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Feb 23, 2017.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    One of the more contentious iPhone 8 rumors we've seen recently is the claim that with the removal of the Home button, Apple will ditch its Touch ID fingerprint recognition technology and replace it with another form of bio-recognition hardware.

    While several possible alternatives have been put forward - such as iris scanning, facial recognition, and even a combination of technologies - each has its pros and cons, while it's still far from clear how Apple would implement them in a purportedly bezel-free OLED handset.

    On the other hand, it's possible that Apple plans to retain a fingerprint identification system in the context of a wider technology which doesn't rely on Touch ID as it is currently understood. A new Apple patent application published on Thursday and discovered by AppleInsider offers a case in point.


    The patent is called "Acoustic imaging system architecture" and describes a method by which a conventional capacitive sensor like Touch ID is replaced by an array of acoustic transducers laid out beneath an iPhone display or in its protective housing.

    Some embodiments describe the transducers as capable of generating acoustic waves, or pulses, which propagate through different substrates, including an iPhone's coverglass. A sensing mode then monitors reflections, attenuations, and diffractions in the sound waves caused by a foreign body - such as a finger - coming into contact with the responsive substrate.

    According to the filing, the ridges in a fingerprint create an identifiable acoustic impedance mismatch. The resulting scan data is transmitted as electric signals which subsequently inform an onboard image resolver to enable it to create a two-dimensional map of the surface. Similar to existing biometric security technology, the digital map is then compared against a database to authenticate the user.

    Crucially, the system is capable of being configured to scan for particular body parts like a user's ear or a skin pattern, in order to determine how the device is being held. Depending on the implementation, the acoustic imaging system might also replace an iPhone's proximity sensors.

    Additionally, the design of the acoustic system allows it to be installed almost anywhere in a device chassis, including directly under the display, around the screen's perimeter or bezel, around buttons and in other, non-input areas like a rear chassis.

    It's not known if the system just described will find its way into an upcoming iPhone, but the patent suggests Apple may be working on sensor technology capable of various feats, with fingerprint identification being just one of them.

    Alternatively, one could envision a scenario in which Apple considers its implementation of fingerprint recognition different enough to warrant a subtle re-definition of Touch ID - as when "Force Touch" on the MacBook became "3D Touch" on the iPhone, for instance. Indeed, at this early stage in the iPhone 8 rumor mill, uncertainty surrounding the future of Touch ID could be down to misconstrued information or confusion over a semantic quibble.

    Article Link: New iPhone Patent Suggests Touch ID May Live on in a Different Form
  2. northernbaldy macrumors 6502a


    Jan 13, 2010
    the north, UK
  3. WatchFromAfar macrumors 65816


    Jan 26, 2017
    If Apple had to remove the headphone jack from the 7 series iPhone because of space issues how pray-tell are they going to fit all this cool new tech into the same form factor? Or was the space issue just BS?
  4. tigertazz macrumors 6502


    May 4, 2009
    I love this idea!
    It would possibly lead to even more screen being available.
    Could it be used as a speaker system as well? Eliminate the grills?
    Probably not at this stage but future state could be might different
  5. GubbyMan macrumors 6502


    Apr 3, 2011
    I thought it was just one random guy that didn't even have a solid track record that just assumed that TouchID will be replaced by the face recognition. Apple has had patents for fingerprint sensors behind the screen before this so I don't understand why anyone would think that it would be gone if Apple removed the Home button.
  6. Jsameds macrumors 68040

    Apr 22, 2008
    They removed the jack in order to make space for new things like this.
  7. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    I'm sure they've got it figured out. No need for concern. :)
  8. WatchFromAfar macrumors 65816


    Jan 26, 2017
    So there was no need to remove from the 7 series then
  9. GrumpyMom macrumors 604


    Sep 11, 2014
    It sounds like it could be a drain on the battery if it's actively sending out sound waves. Is it doing this all the time or is it a triggered function? I would imagine Apple would not implement it unless all possible drawbacks are resolved. They patent so many interesting things that don't get implemented for years, if ever.
  10. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    Just drop it, Bough! Headphone jack will be a non-issue in a few years' time when everybody else drops it too. Apple lead and the rest follow, as per.
  11. Telos101 macrumors regular


    Apr 29, 2016
    AFAIK, Kuo also reckons Touch ID will be replaced by another recognition system, if the technology works out in time.

    All I remember is the word "facial"...
  12. Jsameds macrumors 68040

    Apr 22, 2008
    Oh there were reasons.

    The 7 was a small update from the 6S, so they tested going jackless on this model rather than take the gamble on the model with the biggest overhaul to date

    Better waterproofing

    Internal space freed up was used for a larger taptic engine
  13. Rocketman macrumors 603


  14. sofila macrumors 6502a


    Jan 19, 2006
    Ramtop Mountains
    I don't see Touch ID going anywhere. It will change position form or technology but it will be there. Any other kind of user recognition tech will be a complementary ADD-ON, not a replacement
  15. johngordon macrumors 68000

    Apr 19, 2004
    Presumably they didn't just need more space, they need space to contain the things they wanted the phone to contain.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 23, 2017 ---
    Its amazing...

    ...the iPhone 3G was only a small update from the original iPhone
    ...the iPhone 3GS was only a small update from the iPhone 3G
    ...the iPhone 4 was only a small update from the iPhone 3GS
    ...the iPhone 4S was only a small update from the iPhone 4
    ...the iPhone 5 was only a small update from the iPhone 4S
    ...the iPhone 5S was only a small update from the iPhone 5
    ...the iPhone 6 was only a small update from the iPhone 5S
    ...the iPhone 6S was only a small update from the iPhone 6
    ...the iPhone 7 was only a small update from the iPhone 6S

    And yet here we are in 2017, where the iPhone 7 is virtually unrecognisable from the original iPhone.

    Weird, huh?
  16. Jsameds macrumors 68040

    Apr 22, 2008
    I know, incremental. It's just it felt like a weak increment from 6S to 7 compared to the previous few years.
  17. Wowereit macrumors 6502a

    Feb 1, 2016
    Some Xiaomi devices and OnePlus 3(T) are already using ultrasound fingerprint scanners.
    Sure, still at a certain spot, but the technology is similar. Only a matter of time when it stops being bound to one specific point of the device.
  18. Michaelgtrusa macrumors 604

    Oct 13, 2008
    Apple is pouring on the iPhone heat.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 23, 2017 ---
    These names from china didn't invent this technology, they have no real claim.
  19. stanman64 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 9, 2010
    Could you imagine explaining these rumors to someone 10 years ago?

    "Yeah man, phones have ultrasound finger print scanners now. Everyone has them."

    They would probably think you're crazy.
  20. Robert.Walter macrumors 65816

    Jul 10, 2012
    Given the rise in fingerprint capture by various governments, and the unsettled law issue in the USA of whether compelled unlocking via fingerprint is a 5th amendment violation, whatever Apple comes up with, it better have a what you know component to supplement the what you are component or it will cede market share to whichever competitor does.
  21. DCIFRTHS macrumors 6502a


    Jan 25, 2008
    Apple. Please don't ever do that.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 23, 2017 ---
    I really hope that you are correct :)
  22. fokmik macrumors 68040

    Oct 28, 2016
    i dont understand how this will work? someone?
  23. Jsameds macrumors 68040

    Apr 22, 2008
    "Did you know that in 10 years you'll have a device that'll fit in your pocket that is 3x more powerful than the current (2007) Mac Pro?

    You know those new high definition blu rays? Yeah this device will be able to record video at a resolution 4x greater than that. It also has an app store where you can get virtually anything, including apps that can digitally alter your face in real time. Also if you strap it to your face it can act as an on-the-go virtual reality device too.

    Did I mention it can also stream high definition video over the air? And it can also mimic a credit card so you can also pay for things with it in a store?

    One last thing - we all kinda got bored unlocking these things with a 4 digit passcode. Urgh. Now it has a biometric fingerprint sensor so we don't have to do that any more.."

    Man in 2007 - "You are talking utter ****!"
  24. I7guy macrumors P6


    Nov 30, 2013
    Gotta be in it to win it
    They needed the headphone jack space for all of the new wizardry?
  25. axiomatic macrumors newbie


    Jun 21, 2015
    Well it makes sense if the home button's going. It's better than putting it on the back like Nexus and the like.

Share This Page