The Galaxy S8 will probably have an awkward fingerprint sensor on the back of the phone. But it's starting to look like Apple is definitely integrating its Touch ID fingerprint scanning technology into the iPhone 8's screen.
The company was just awarded a patent for technology that allows for reading fingerprints on a display panel.
The new panel would use "interactive pixel" formations for a number of functions, including scanning fingerprints using infrared (IR) emitting and sensing LED sensors. This is according to Apple U.S. Patent No. 9,570,002, which U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted and published today (Feb. 14), which is titled "Interactive display panel with IR diodes."
This is just the latest sign pointing to an all-screen Touch ID sensor, lining up with other iPhone 8 rumors. The patent notes that each "display element" could "include organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs), semiconductor-based LEDs, or other light-emissive devices," so it would work with the expected curved-OLED iPhone 8 panel.
While the patent could allow for the whole screen to be a fingerprint scanning sensor, it also allows for a virtual home button. One diagram shows that this technology could be implemented with a denser grouping of interactive pixels on the bottom section of the panel, creating a larger space that's still close to where the current home button is.
It must be noted that a patent isn't proof that the iPhone 8 will go all screen up front. Companies often apply for patents for reasons other than pursuing the final product. But given the numerous other reports and rumors on this subject, a Touch ID screen on the iPhone 8 looks very close to a lock.