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Apple Already Has an Answer for Galaxy S10’s Best Feature

Apple has found a new method for getting Touch ID into iPhones. But will the technology find its way to this year's handsets?

The Vivo Nex S is one of the first phone with a fingerprint-reading screen. (Credit: Tom's Guide)

(Image credit: The Vivo Nex S is one of the first phone with a fingerprint-reading screen. (Credit: Tom's Guide))

The folks over at Patently Apple have uncovered a new Apple patent that describes a new method for biometric sensing in smartphones. The technology would use cameras that would live under the display and offset at certain angles. The cameras would then analyze your fingerprint as you place it on the screen and determine whether you should be given access to the iPhone or not.

Placing the fingerprint cameras at different angles appears to be an important component here. By analyzing your fingerprint from different angles, the cameras can see the ridges in your fingerprint, creating a 3D image that a controller inside the handset can analyze. The move should make for far more accurate fingerprint scanning than 2D scanners that only see your fingerprints and not the ridges on your fingertips.

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Biometrics has become a major topic of concern for smartphone makers and owners. Apple had offered its Touch ID fingerprint sensor for years in its iPhones. The technology was hardware-based and generally worked well.

Credit: Patently Apple

(Image credit: Patently Apple)

Last year, however, Apple ditched Touch ID in favor of Face iD. Apple's Face ID conducts a 3D scan of your face to determine your identity. Other phone makers offer facial recognition, but none of those solutions are as sophisticated as Apple's Face ID tech.

Meanwhile, has been said to be working on a virtual fingerprint sensor for years. But due to limitations in technology and cost, the company hasn't been able to get the feature to its smartphones. Now all signs are pointing to a possible launch in the Galaxy S10 early next year with an ultrasonic sensor

The Vivo Nex S is the first Android phone we've tested with a fingerprint sensor embedded into the display, but we found it to be finicky in our testing.

It's unclear from the patent what Apple's plans are. Like other big tech companies, Apple often files for patents on new technologies. It's possible the scanner will never makes its way to iPhones.

That said, Apple filed for the patent in January, after the iPhone X launched, suggesting that the company is still thinking about fingerprint scanners. And with a new slate of iPhones expected to be announced next month, there's a chance we could see the new Touch ID in those handsets.

  • luisalmeidait
    This is a joke! and will not undermine the tech on the samsung apple still behind and always catching up as other innovate. Making a newer version of something another brand already does makes no sense. I am a samsung user and IT background of over 17 years, features on the iphone vs galaxy models are always behind by a couple of years this goes unnoticed due to apple's stronger marketing campaigns over what they have atm, apple spends more money on market than tech.
    Reply
  • bobdupuu
    Somebody please tell me what is wrong with the finger ID on the back of the Android phones. Apple could never get their front fingerprint home button to work very well, so they declared that we need facial recognition, which is awkward. so now they (and Samsung) say we need an in-screen fingerprint sensor, which does not take up any real estate on the screen. Guess what. The Android rear fingerprint sensor never has taken up any screen real estate and it works and it is a more natural location for one-handed operation.
    Reply
  • darkomaledictus
    Lol at those instant message update: "This is terrible for Samsung"... yesterday "This is terrible for Apple". Stop with the sensationalism or I'm just going to unsubscribe. You guys are sounding like Spam more than anything lately...
    Reply
  • darkomaledictus
    @BOBDUPUU, correct, back fingerprint works like a charm. No idea why you would rather use your face than just picking up the handset and sliding your finger on the back. Front fingerprint reader via camera sounds like more battery usage and also more of a problem to swipe.

    They are are starting to really lack new ideas to sell these phones...
    Reply
  • tx517
    @ LUISALMEIDAIT.

    Apple is not behind Samsung (this is a simplistic, unproven claim), and this misses the core point that Apple has invented the smartphone, copied by everyone else including Samsung. What device has Samsung invented?

    Going back to this article, where have you seen that Samsung has a fingerprint scan below the screen? This is non-sense.

    This technology does not exist (obviously for everyone but you)...
    Reply
  • webgtlnbrgrs
    NO finger print on the new iPhone then i'll trade the iPhone 7 Plus for a S10 .. Pretty simple ..
    Reply
  • bobdupuu
    @@ LUISALMEIDAIT Once upon a time there was a fellow named Steve Jobs; he was the genius behind nesarly all of Apple's innovations. We all hold him in our debt. However, Steve is gone and not coming back and no creative genius has emerged at Apple to continue what he started. I don't know who created the mobile phone camera, but the $1,000 iPhone X really sucks compared with Google Pixel 2XL and the Samsung 9+. And yet Apple spends more time futsing around with its fingerprint reader and what the new color selections are going to be. But what does it matter. There will always be enough sheep to buy whatever Apple thinks is best for us.
    Reply
  • nenaniffa
    Can you tell me if I should be seeing my actual phone home screen on the car's LCD screen? I don't think so, but the guy at the dealership made me think I should.
    Reply
  • tx517
    @ BOBDUPUU

    The Google Pixel 2 XL has several serious issues, including very slow performance after many months of usage. Besides, Google only guarantees three years of OS and security update, much less than Apple and what users should expect given the high price tag.
    Reply
  • tx517
    @ BOBDUPUU
    " The Android rear fingerprint sensor never has taken up any screen real estate and it works and it is a more natural location"

    A rear located sensor is not ergonomic: how can you activate when your phone is on a surface? Also, with the sensor at the back and out of sight, how can you easily and quickly locate it and use it? Impossible.

    And why has Samsung and others added facial recognition in a addition to the fingerprint sensor?

    This clearly proves that a rear facing sensor is not a satisfactory solution. It is on the back only because of compromises and a lack of better technological alternative.

    That's why all such sensors should be on the front, ideally behind the screen.
    Reply