The company notes that an issue for electronic devices is the availability of space within the device housing. Available surface space is often a limited resource which leads to designs in which multiple components share surface space.
In the case of fingerprint recognition systems that include arrays of capacitive sensing elements to detect the fingerprint images, i.e. capacitive fingerprint sensors, there may be a number of reasons for these components to axially aligned with other components of the consumer electronics device, such as display stacks and touch screens, not the least of which is an interest in avoiding assigning valuable surface space exclusively to an component that may only be used briefly during the process of identifying the user.
Apple goes on to describe an embodiment of its fingerprint sensor which would work under a display stack.
Another example embodiment, as described herein, is a capacitive fingerprint sensor, including: a surface layer; a display stack coupled to the surface layer; an electrostatic lens coupled to the display stack; and an array of capacitive sensing elements coupled to the electrostatic lens.
This patent is of considerable note as Apple is widely rumored to be introducing a massive redesign to the iPhone next year which will embed numerous components from the bezel into the display.
It's said the company will introduce three new iPhone models with one of them featuring a curved OLED display. The smartphone will allegedly be moved to an all-glass design. It will purportedly have a front glass cover and chassis, joined by a metal bezel and an edge-to-edge display that has no bezels on the top and bottom. Additionally, the front camera, Touch ID, speaker, and other sensors will apparently be embedded into the display.
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