There are currently two ways to unlock your Apple Watch. One is to enter the passcode directly into the console, and the other is to unlock the paired iPhone, but neither is very convenient.
As one of the possible ways to improve it, it has become clear that Apple has applied for a patent that allows the Digital Crown (a crown-shaped controller on the side of the main unit) to have a Touch ID function for fingerprint authentication. The patent was filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in November 2018 and published on the 6th of this month (US local time). Patently Apple, who is familiar with Apple patent information, has discovered and reported.
The definition of "electronic timepiece" in the document of this patent is "a housing forming the side of the electronic timepiece, a transparent cover and an image sensor coupled to the housing and defining the front face of the electronic timepiece, and extending from the side of the housing. Including a crown and an imaging surface. The crown may include a light directing function configured to direct an image of an object in contact with the imaging surface onto the image sensor element. "
It's written in rather vague patent-like words, but the point is that the "electronic watch" is a device like the Apple Watch, which has a built-in optical sensor. And on the crown side, a mechanism to guide the image (fingerprint etc.) of the contacted object to the sensor is installed.
Later, there is a more specific description. "The features to be analyzed include user's skin features (fingerprints, hair follicles, etc.) or other optically detectable features of any object, texture (surface texture), surface irregularities, images In this way, the device can be placed on the skin (eg, the skin of a user's finger or hand), stylus, gloved finger, or other suitable object with optically detectable features. I can react. " In short, user fingerprints and skin features can be obtained as image data.
The data obtained in this way can be analyzed against the "stored image", that is, it can also function as fingerprint authentication. However, while Touch ID of iPhone SE etc. is a capacitance type, this is an optical type and the method is different.
Big tech companies like Apple file and apply for patents on a weekly basis, of which only a few are commercialized. However, an Apple Watch with Touch ID should be more convenient than unlocking the passcode above or the iPhone of the mother ship, and it is not unlikely that the company is conducting R & D. Will be
At least one of the next generation iPhonesRumors to talk about adopting fingerprint sensor in screenAnd, placed on the side of the iPhone SE2 Plus (temporary)There was also prediction that Touch ID was integrated into the power button. Face ID is the mainstream in recent iPhones, but Touch ID may be back in the future.
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