One of Apple’s patent applications for a biometrics reader using fingerprints that would be used in future iPhone models has been approved by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. This brings users one step closer to auto-authentication when making purchases with their iPhones.
According to 9to5Mac, Apple first applied for this particular patent in 2015 and recently submitted additional patent applications based on this biometric technology. It has been rumored that Apple plans to introduce a near-bezel-free design for the iPhone 8 later this year, with the touch-sensitive home button on the iPhone 7 a sign that the company has gotten closer to perfecting the technology.
An embedded fingerprint reader would allow Apple to eliminate a separate Touch ID sensor on its iPhones, making for a seamless experience. The biometrics reader would mean that even if a fingerprint is required to authenticate a purchase or download, the user would not have to do it in a separate step since the device would be able to read the fingerprint already on the touchscreen.
“Where a fingerprint sensor is integrated into an electronic device or host device, for example, as noted above, it may be desirable to more quickly perform authentication, particularly while performing another task or an application on the electronic device,” reads the patent application. “In other words, in some instances it may be undesirable to have a user perform an authentication in a separate authentication step — for example, switching between tasks to perform the authentication.”
While many believe Apple will also eventually introduce facial recognition for authentication, the company shouldn’t omit fingerprints entirely. In fact, a poll by 9to5Mac found that the majority of its readers want to keep fingerprint authentication even if more advanced forms of biometric technology are offered in the future.