The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office published Thursday (Feb. 19) new patent applications filed by Apple that hint at the technology conglomerate’s latest focuses.
Reports say the patents include a biometrics patent for the company’s TouchID technology. Entitled “Electronic Device Including Finger Sensor Having Orientation based Authentication and Related Methods,” Apple’s patent 20150049926 includes concepts for a finger sensor that would identify the placement of a user’s finger at different angles.
According to Apple’s patent abstract, the technology could include a processor that would attempt to authenticate a fingerprint scan at various angles using “finger-matching biometric data of the user’s finger at an unknown rotational angle relative to a known rotational angle.”
This means TouchID users could scan their finger at any angle to unlock their device.
Reports say Apple’s biometrics TouchID technology could possibly apply to iMac and MacBooks in addition to iPhones and iPads.
The release of TouchID in 2013 could have widespread implications for mobile payments and commerce, experts say. TouchID could more extensively collect consumer data including tracking and ROI, because the buyer does not leave the mobile device to move forward with a purchase.
While the technology first emerged simply as a way for users to unlock their iPhone, Apple began implementing the identification process in its Apple Pay as a way to conduct one-touch payments. In another recent patent filed last month, Apple revealed it is exploring how customers could use TouchID-supported POS at retailers, allowing shoppers to pay via TouchID and a pin without having their smartphone present. The technology would pull TouchID data into the cloud, reports say, and users could register their fingerprint to use TouchID technology at any device, not just the device on which the fingerprint was registered.
While this patent was not published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office until Jan. 15, reports say Apple had actually filed the patent in 2013, two months before it rolled out TouchID.