In a patent entitled 'Man-machine interface for controlling access to electronic devices' the company describes three ways of integrating Touch ID into the display.
One alternate embodiment of the apparatus is based on optical fingerprint scanner technology, and can be seen in FIG. 2. A plate is placed over the display apparatus, with a light source and a CCD between the two. The light source, the plate, and the CCD must all be transparent, or items would not be viewable on the display apparatus.
FIG. 3 shows an alternate embodiment of the present invention, which is based on a capacitive fingerprint sensor and a capacitive touch screen. A glass plate coated with transparent metal oxide is placed on top of the display apparatus. When the finger is placed on the glass plate of the finger touch sensor region, an electric field is created and the finger touch location and fingerprint can be determined.
Another alternate embodiment of the apparatus is based on the ultrasonic imaging fingerprint sensor and the acoustic wave touch screen. This can be seen in FIG. 4. Again a glass panel is placed on the display apparatus. Ultrasonic waves are propagated by means of an ultrasonic or acoustic wave generator either through or on top of the glass panel, using it as a wave guide. When a finger is placed on the finger touch sensor region it interferes with the traveling wave, generating the fingerprint or touch location. Because the wave guide is based on the principle of total internal reflection, the angle of incidence of the propagating wave must be such that it doesn't interfere with the optical properties of the display apparatus behind it. This is affected by the thickness of the glass panel and the frequency of the propagating wave.
The patent publication comes as Apple is rumored to be working on major revamp of its iPhone that would bring a completely bezel free design in 2017. The camera, speaker, sensors, and Touch ID would all be embedded into the display.
Click here for more details on Apple's rumored big iPhone redesign and please follow iClarified on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or RSS for updates.
Read More [via Patently Apple]