Apple has filed a huge 612-page patent application for various fingerprint sensing technology in future iPhone and iPad models.
The application filed with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) builds on the technology featured in the iPhone 5S Touch ID fingerprint scanner.
Apple is not only looking to improve its Touch ID scanner, but introduce the technology to touchscreen displays via an embedded fingerprint sensing layer. The Cupertino company has already referenced such an idea in at least two other patents, so expect to see it implemented in future mobile devices.
The Touch ID could be enhanced to act as a miniature trackpad for navigating around an iPhone or iPad and switching between applications.
For example, a quick left-to-right motion across the home button could be used to move through an app’s interface, while a swipe up would reveal a multitasking screen. Twisting a finger or making a circle on the home button could toggle the orientation lock or a long press could trigger a customised feature.
The patent also explains that Apple is looking to introduce permission-based profiles using Touch ID. A child’s tap would only be able to access limited functions of the iOS device, with the user setting access on an app-by-app basis.
This would use the fingerprint sensor within the touchscreen display, so you wouldn’t be required to switch user profiles.
Apple also outlines a mobile payments system that is authenticated by a user’s fingerprint, which may well be combined with Apple’s iBeacon technology.
There are also some more obscure ideas contained with the patent application like being able to log each fingerprint for a particular user, which could be used to help teach piano or help on screen touch-typing.
Fingerprints could also be used to pair devices. By touching one device with your left hand and the other with your right when placed next to each other would be enough to sync the devices for screen sharing for example.
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