Will Apple’s iPhone Fingerprint Sensor Include This Extra Security Feature?

Iphone 5There is a growing amount of evidence that suggests Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) next flagship iPhone will feature a fingerprint sensor that will enable users to securely access their device without the use of a traditional password. Besides the typical supply chain leaks regarding a fingerprint scanner, there is also evidence that was discovered by an Apple researcher in the iOS 7 coding that seems to support the existence of this long-rumored biometric feature.

Patently Apple recently uncovered even more evidence for an Apple fingerprint sensor in a patent that was filed in Europe. Like the previously reported fingerprint sensor patents, this European patent is related to the technology that Apple gained from its acquisition of AuthenTec last summer.

However, this latest fingerprint sensor patent reveals a previously unknown aspect of Apple’s fingerprint scanner technology. In the patent, Apple outlines a method to prevent fingerprint falsification, otherwise known as “spoofing.” Fingerprint spoofing is done by creating a fingerprint mold using plastic, wax, or other similar material. This can potentially allow an unauthorized user to gain access to a device using a fake fingerprint.

According to Patently Apple, the Cupertino-based company’s latest patent includes a method to detect whether or not the fingerprint sensor is reading a fingerprint from live tissue. The fingerprint scanner detects the presence of live tissue by using RF (radio frequency) sensing to image “just below the surface of the skin.”

Although there seems to be a significant amount of evidence that suggests Apple will soon unveil a fingerprint-scanning device, it is still unclear exactly how this device will function. Various patents outlining different fingerprint sensing technologies have emerged online.

Some patents describe a fingerprint scanner that is embedded in an “encapsulation structure.” Another patent describes a method for reading a user’s fingerprint through the touchscreen display by using “pixels, pixel sensing traces” and “electrodes overlying the pixel sensing traces.”

Here’s how Apple closed out the trading week.


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