Reports on AppleInsider have hinted at Apple quietly filing a patent that could bring Touch ID back to iPhones in a big way – bigger than ever before, in fact.

Called “Acoustic pulse coding for imaging of input devices”, the patent describes the capabilities of a fingerprint scanner that can operate no matter where the finger touches the screen.

This technology is similar to Ultrasonic technology designed by Qualcomm that uses acoustic vibrations from the display to create 3D maps of fingerprints, said to be used in the Samsung Galaxy S10, which will be released later in February. What makes Apple’s use of this type of technology different, though, is that users will not be limited to a specific area on the screen where the fingerprint can be read.

How does it work?

According to reports on AppleInsider, the new technology has been built on the innovations developed by rival companies, and incorporates the latest developments in mobile security.

“According to the patent, an array of acoustic transducers are positioned in contact with the surface, and can transmit a coded impulse signal, in response to a touch input,” reports on AppleInsider say.

“By monitoring the reflections from multiple coded signals, an image resolver can receive the reflection data and generate an image based on the input.”

It remains to be seen when full screen Touch ID will start to be used in iPhones, but when it does, it would equip the iPhone with military-grade security features, more advanced than has ever been used in a consumer cellphone.

Full screen Touch ID and the facial recognition capabilities of Apple’s latest releases would provide flexibility by allowing users to choose between two (three, if you count the traditional passcode) verification options, and a combination of the former two would make Apple the leader in mobile security, backing its plans to promote the iPhone as potential replacements for passports, IDs and credit cards.

This might just be the technology that the mobile giant is looking for to drive demand, after slow iPhone sales caused a drop in Apple’s share price and an estimated loss of $300 billion of the company’s market value since October 2018.

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