From the iPhone 5s to this year’s second generation of iPhone SE, Touch ID is back in the user eye seven years later with a new crown. We already know that in recent years, the flagship iPhone has used Face ID instead of Touch ID for biometrics for screen share and phone integration. But now, people wearing masks miss the round Touch ID module as strongly as they marvel at when it came out.
Apple is aware of this, and they haven’t given up on the idea of using Touch ID again in high-end products. According to current rumors, Apple is continuing to develop optical under-screen fingerprints, which, if all goes well, will be ready for later release on the iPhone.
Recently, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office released two new patent applications for the Touch ID off-screen, the first of which is “optical transmission, reception, and perception through the micro-optical original”, which details optical sensors at the bottom of the screen and says the technology “can capture 2D or 3D image information from an object or user”, such as fingerprint information. With this optical sensor, light can be transmitted through the bottom of the screen to the top of the screen, the difficulty of this technology is the quality of the screen, but Apple has always used the top screen panel, presumably not a big problem.
However, the technology is no longer an insurmountable gap, and a large number of Android devices have become popular. But Apple’s standards have always been tough, and the technology is sure to be tested a lot before it’s actually installed.
Another patent is the Optical Fingerprint Detection System. To address the effect of temperature on the OLED screen, the patent provides temperature compensation for optical fingerprint modules to guarantee under-screen fingerprint recognition.
There have been a number of media reports about the use of under-screen fingerprints. In April, there were reports in the supply chain that Apple would choose to work with partners to develop under-screen fingerprint modules, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman said Apple was working on the technology, and analyst 錤 Guo Ming said Apple would launch a phone product with under-screen fingerprints in 2021.
In addition to optical fingerprinting, Apple is also developing acoustic-based fingerprint recognition, such as Samsung’s first ultrasonic under-screen fingerprint technology in the Galaxy S10 series.
For Apple, it’s unlikely that they’ll be able to keep selling low-screen products like the new iPhone SE to consumers in the future, as a way to boost the device’s screen share and inexpensive, and perhaps soon we’ll see iPhone products with touch IDs on the screen.