When you are a long-time Apple Watch user, you may desire a touch-based biometric authentication system. Face ID implementation may be still far too problematic for Apple Watch because it needs a good front-facing camera, which is not yet miniaturized enough for a smartwatch. On the other hand, Touch ID is a more reliable solution, especially if Apple manages to insert a fingerprint sensor inside the Apple Watch’s case. Apple has recently filed a patent application for, Electronic device with a sealed button biometric sensing system. This patent describes a way to fit a reliable fingerprint sensor in a smartwatch. But instead of having a full-sized fingerprint sensor under the display, the schematic shows that it will be on the side button. Such an idea shouldn’t sound too outlandish if Apple can miniaturize the Touch ID module. Other than as a biometric authentication component, it will also serve as a power button to turn on the device or wake up the display.
It’s quite interesting that the patent proposes putting the Touch ID sensor inside the digital crown while retaining its rotational functionality. The Touch ID sensor will remain in the static portion in the middle. There’s also a mention of the under-display fingerprint sensor, which is now a common solution in many Android devices. It may pose a technical challenge to design a smartwatch with a full-sized fingerprint sensor under its display. If Apple manages to put a fingerprint sensor assembly inside its smartwatch, the Apple Watch series will become even more capable. At the moment, Apple Watch can already do many things, including making touchless payments, measuring blood oxygen levels, and taking electrocardiogram data. Soon, Apple Watch will be able to detect whether you have a fever as well. Apple is currently working on adding a blood pressure monitor and non-invasive blood glucose measurements. However, with so much personal information stored in your Apple Watch, Touch ID will become another layer of security measure. It will be no longer necessary to enter a PIN or passcode to authenticate payments.
Apple isn’t the only one that develops such technology and Samsung has signed a deal with Paypal to verify transactions with a fingerprint sensor. Although the Korean company has demoed the tech in 2017, it still hasn’t come to fruition as of this year. Based on Samsung’s design, the sensor is on the display’s edge for easier access. In 2018, Samsung filed a patent that specifies a technology for the under-display fingerprint sensors. Again, it doesn’t appear on any smartwatch released by the company today. We still don’t know when Apple will implement such a technology, but we could be hopeful that it will arrive soon. Kuo predicted in September 2021 that an iPhone with an under-display fingerprint sensor will be released in the later months of 2023. However, in his more recent tweets, this implementation is no longer likely. So, if the iPhone will not get an under-display fingerprint sensor, the Apple Watch may not receive something similar. Even so, there’s still a possibility Apple Watch will have Touch ID with a physical button instead.
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