A fingerprint sensor could be a killer iPhone 5S feature this fall, and despite analyst claims and parts that pointed to a delay until the iPhone 6, a new Apple patent shows that Apple could be planning to place an iPhone fingerprint sensor below the screen or in the bezel of the new iPhone.
Rumors of an iPhone 5S fingerprint sensor date back to September 2012, shortly after Apple purchased security firm AuthenTec, and new sketches form a patent granted this week show off how Apple might be able to deliver enhanced iPhone security.
Patently Apple shares an Apple patent that shows a fingerprint sensor built-in to a display, but that could also make an appearance in the iPhone bezel. The image below shows how Apple could hide the iPhone 5S fingerprint reader behind the display.
Another alternative would be to hide the fingerprint sensor in an iPhone 5S bezel of the device. This would allow Apple to use the same external design and the same home button it currently uses, and still add better security.
Leaks that claim to show the iPhone 5S home button don’t include a spot for a fingerprint reader. Some took this to mean there would not be a fingerprint reader in the iPhone 5S. We’ve speculated that it could be built into the actual plastic button, but with this new patent we have a clearer picture.
The image below shows an alleged iPhone 5S complete with a logic board and battery from MacRumors. This is a small change from the iPhone 5. The logic board, the part on the right is slightly narrower, leaving more room for the battery and other components. Apple could use this extra room to build in parts of the fingerprint sensor which may sit underneath the screen or behind a bezel. While inconclusive, there appears to be small openings that could facilitate this.
Apple is not the only company working on mobile security through a fingerprint sensor. Validity showed off an Android phone with a fingerprint reader built-into the glass of a smartphone earlier this year. The video below shows how an iPhone 5S with a fingerprint sensor under the glass could work. The demo below from Laptop Mag shows an Android device with a fingerprint sensor below the screen, but the idea transfers to the iPhone 5S.
As the video shows, a sensor built into the glass of the display lets users log in without swiping and unlocking. This sensor is placed near the bottom edge which allows the user to slide a finger over it to unlock the phone easily.
This type of technology would allow users to secure their phone, but that’s not all. We could see this built-in to mobile payments and with mobile online shopping. This could also tie into the iOS 7 iCloud keychain which stores passwords and credit card numbers.