Apple has been awarded patents for a depth-mapping system, bezel-less screen, and an always-on Touch ID fingerprint sensor integrated within the display. These three patents awarded by The United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) to the Apple are the key rumored features for company’s most anticipated OLED iPhone 8. According to PatentlyApple, these three patents are among the series of 56 newly granted patents to the Apple.
The U.S. Patent No. 9,652,066 for an “Electronic device including finger biometric sensor including transparent conductive blocking areas carried by a touch display and related methods” covers the second most rumored feature for the iPhone 8; Touch ID integrated within the display right where the Home button is on the current iPhone.
The patent reveals that the implementation of this patent would include at least one transparent conductive layer right below a touch display to define “touch sensing pixels”. At least one of these conductive layers will be coupled with a fingerprint sensing layer comprising an array of transparent conductive finger biometric sensing pixels.
The patent description also read that this in-screen Touch ID may support multiple devices such as iPad, iPhone, and even the MacBook. The MacBook Pro launched late 2016 is the first Apple’s laptop to feature a Touch ID, found at the rightmost side of the OLED TouchBar.
The U.S. Patent No. 9,652,096 is entitled “Reducing the border area of a device,” covers the bending of the edges of the display and the touch panels to reduce the bezels of the device. As per the abstract of this patent, a flexible panel consisting of a flat surface, “an active area” and one or more bent border “contiguous with and extending from the active area of the substantially flat surface” could be introduced in an electronic device.This will help to extend the active area closer to the edges making the device smaller in width.
The third patent is the U.S. Patent No. 9,651,417 for a “Scanning depth engine.” It covers Kinect-like 3D mapping, detailed methods, and devices for capturing and projecting optical radiation. It requires a scanner and a bespoke transmitter. “A processor is coupled to control the scanner so as to cause the beam to scan over a selected window within the scan range and to process the output of the receiver so as to generate a 3D map of a part of the scene that is within the selected window,” reads the patent abstract.
While the technology discussed in this patent could be launched as the rumored 3D scanning feature of iPhone 8 for facial recognition, but Apple has specifically mentioned Kinect-like accessory. This could also mean that Apple could launch a Kinect-like accessory for the next-generation Apple TV allowing users to interact with games and exercising videos.