Apple hasn’t given up on the iPhone’s flagship Touch ID

A new Apple patent details how devices with OLED screens can provide touch-like ID-like functionality at any point in the display’s active area. The organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display allows optical touch sensing and user identification, Apple said in U.S. patent No. 10,541,280.

Apple says the touch screen can include a touch sensor and some or all of the display devices located behind the touch sensor so that touch sensitive surfaces can cover at least part of the active area of the display device. The patent says OLED has obvious advantages. FOR EXAMPLE, OLED CAN PROVIDE A FLAT OR FLEXIBLE DISPLAY IN A RELATIVELY THIN PACKAGE FOR USE IN A WIDE RANGE OF PORTABLE ELECTRONIC DEVICES. In addition, OLED displays display brighter, more vivid images in thinner and lighter packages than LCD displays, making them suitable for use in compact portable electronic devices.

The patent describes how users or other objects are identified “based on their optical properties.” For example, the water absorption band is about 1700 nm, while the absorption band of finger objects is about 1000-1500 nm. In some examples, water and objects may have different spectral fingerprints, which can include the entire wavelength spectral absorber or reflection value. Based on the frequency of reflected light or spectral fingerprints detected by multiple OLEds, the processor or controller can determine the type of object.

The touch screen can include a space filter, which is configured to focus on the light emitted from the OLED and/or the reflected light detected by the OLED to improve optical touch sensing. The emitted light can reflect objects such as fingers hovering near or near the touch screen. Therefore, in addition to identifying users, the system can also interpret hover actions.

This isn’t the first time Apple has applied for a full-screen Touch ID patent. Previous applications included the use of acoustic imaging for identification. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also reported that Apple will bring a “screen fingerprint” Touch ID to the iPhone in 2021.

Apple hasn't given up on the iPhone's flagship Touch ID

Apple hasn't given up on the iPhone's flagship Touch ID