Apple might be working on a groundbreaking fingerprint recognition solution for future iPhones

Apple might be working on a groundbreaking fingerprint recognition solution for future iPhones
The iPhone 8 Plus rocks a traditional Touch ID fingerprint sensor

While more and more Android device manufacturers seem to be taking facial recognition seriously in an attempt to catch up to Apple’s Face ID technology, the Cupertino-based tech giant might be exploring various ways of going back to the basics of biometric authentication solutions on mobile devices.

Yet another patent published recently in the US and originally discovered by AppleInsider suggests Apple is considering a Touch ID revival... of sorts, possibly in order to double the convenience and security of the Face ID scanning method exclusively used on recent iPhones.

Obviously, if the Touch ID feature were to make a comeback on 2019 iPhones or beyond, Apple needs to modernize the fingerprint reading technology somehow in order to keep up with recent trends and increasingly complex biometric recognition systems on high-end Android devices.

Enter something called “acoustic pulse coding for imaging of input surfaces”, which essentially means Apple is (maybe) working on a way to convert audio signals into coded images of a user’s fingerprint.

The goal, as listed in the patent documentation, is to improve the speed and ease of use of conventional fingerprint sensors by basically eliminating the physical sensor itself. Instead of that, a “number of acoustic transducers” could be used to generate mechanical waves, acoustic waves, or pulses into the “user input surface in response to a signal from a controller.”


In other words, your fingerprint would enter into contact with these acoustic transducers, leaving an audio imprint that could then be compared to a “database of known images or data” to determine if the biometric information matches that of a phone’s rightful owner.

Apple envisions multiple use cases for this potentially groundbreaking technology, including unlocking financial information or “trade secret information” by fingerprint or even mapping the “biometrically-unique features of a user’s ear” with the help of an acoustic imaging system of this type.

If the whole thing sounds too complicated to wrap your head around, you might be excited to hear a specific acoustic imaging mechanism implementation would also theoretically allow Apple to equip the full display area of future iPhone generations with blazing fast fingerprint recognition functionality. 

Basically, this could be another step towards that completely bezel-less iPhone of our dreams, capable of both under-display facial and fingerprint scanning... or it could be a wild concept that never gets to see daylight on a commercial product. Sadly, you can never know which direction patents like this are headed into.

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25 Comments

1. Well-Manicured-Man

Posts: 688; Member since: Jun 16, 2015

Ultrasonic Finger Print Reader... nothing new. But it’s good that Apple is working on it.

8. Atechguy0

Posts: 918; Member since: Aug 03, 2018

Nothing new? Well the one that seems to be out their and is fairly new is Qualcomm's ultrasonic sensor. The other that uses radar is Google's project Soli. But since this article mentions acoustics. Then Apple better sort things out with Qualcomm fast, especially if this tech wants to be in the next iPhone. The other thing that got me is when Adrian said more and more OEMs are taking facial recognition seriously. The thing is the other OEMs are not as dumb as Apple to abandon finger print scanners, and have made them better than Apple ever did. OEMs other than Apple give you more than one option to login to your device. Apple is the one that forces you to use what they want you to use.

15. IT-Engineer

Posts: 545; Member since: Feb 26, 2015

Shhh, dont tell them that Samsung is gonna introduce it in their S10, or that other OEM'es have shown a proof of concept. The iherd doesn't wanna know!

23. osterrich21

Posts: 186; Member since: Apr 14, 2017

iUltrasonic fingerprint

25. Atechguy0

Posts: 918; Member since: Aug 03, 2018

Brings back memories of Apple's Retina stuff, or their new Super Retina. All meaningless wording for stuff that has been created by other companies, and used on other smartphones, before Apple's iPhones.

2. Cat97

Posts: 1893; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

Looks to me like a fancy wording for the ultrasonic fingerprint scanner already used by Qualcomm.

3. SIGPRO

Posts: 2817; Member since: Oct 03, 2012

Indeed, also Xiaomi already showed a prototype phone which can unlock no matter where you put your finger on the screen.

6. hazard1

Posts: 236; Member since: Feb 11, 2017

Yup. I opened this article hoping I would be blown away by what they propose to do. After reading the article, not so much. Still, nice that they are bringing touch ID back.

14. Supah

Posts: 692; Member since: Mar 08, 2017

And PA wonders why their readers call em iPA and some of their wannabe iWriters even have the audacity to get mad at us for calling them iPA. Oh the iRony....

20. sissy246

Posts: 7115; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

Exactly But since its apple its groundbreaking, lmao

4. cmdacos

Posts: 4209; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Reinvention and repackaging of current technology. Nicely done. Lol

5. tokuzumi

Posts: 1900; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

So Apple is working on a fingerprint sensor? I hope other phones in the near future start using fingerprint sensors. Would be nice to easily unlock my phone by putting my finger on the scanner, and it just unlocks.

7. Venom

Posts: 3574; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

I don't care what they do or how they do it as long as they bring TouchID back. Removing it with the FPS and the headphone jack was a stupid decision on Apple's part.

9. Macready

Posts: 1821; Member since: Dec 08, 2014

Groundbreaking... way of renaming the ultrasonic fingerprint reader.

10. surethom

Posts: 1694; Member since: Mar 04, 2009

LOL, Android device manufacturers seem to be taking facial recognition seriously in an attempt to catch up to Apple’s Face ID technology. NO majority of Android manufacturers prefer inscreen finger print readers. The real story is Apple seem to be Finally taking in screen finger print sensor seriously in an attempt to catch up to Android.

11. Rampage_Taco

Posts: 1060; Member since: Jan 17, 2017

This is as impressive as the time Apple invented Wireless charging, this is a real game changer...

12. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Hahaha I see what you did there..

13. Seatech21

Posts: 68; Member since: Jan 01, 2018

Typical iphone Arena, Apple must be paying iPhone Arena real good to give us those "cheap facial ID" talking points. Apple, unlike Android, forces facial ID on it's consumers. That way the government can collect our faces. iPhone Arena are puppets for the Illuminati. Their genda cannot be more transparent!

24. worldpeace

Posts: 3135; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

*True Wireless Charging... /s

16. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

I believe Apple is trying to find a way to make the sensor read the fingerprint wherever the finger is: in contact with the phone or at a distance. That would be different and really groundbreaking; otherwise Face ID is a little better than every current solution.

17. Supah

Posts: 692; Member since: Mar 08, 2017

Xiaomi already demonstrated a smartphone prototype w/ under display fingerprint scanner that can unlock the locked screen with pressing pretty much everywhere. "I believe Apple is trying to find a way....." It'd be weird if you didn't 'iBelieve' the iBS you wrote above.

21. Marcwand3l

Posts: 439; Member since: May 08, 2017

It's not Xiaomi, it's Vivo you are talking about.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jXk3zAfZKY Anyway Apple is quite late. Most Android OEMs in the upcoming months will launch flagships with under display fingerprint sensors. 2019 is the year of the ultrasonic under display sensors.

22. Supah

Posts: 692; Member since: Mar 08, 2017

18. Nexus4lifes

Posts: 294; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

sorry apple and phonearena i don't wanna breakthe ground to get my finger print recognized...

19. L0n3n1nja

Posts: 1560; Member since: Jul 12, 2016

So they are mimicking the cheap Chinese OEMs that their users love to bash?

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