Apple was just granted a patent for a touchscreen that reads fingerprints

Apple iPhone 7
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends
The iPhone’s home button could soon disappear — and could be replaced by a fingerprint scanner implemented into the device’s touchscreen. Apple has just been granted a patent for a virtual home button that would be placed within a touchscreen.

The patent itself was first spotted by AppleInsider, and was made public on Tuesday by the U.S. Patent and Trade Office. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of such a move from Apple. In fact, rumors of a Home button replacement have been swirling around for some time, with the latest rumors even suggesting that we’ll see a MacBook Pro-style TouchBar replace the home button.

The Home button has long been a staple of the iPhone. Ever since the ground-breaking smartphone was first launched in 2007, that user-interface element has remained in the same spot — although its functionality has evolved over time to include a fingerprint sensor.

It’s important to note that just because Apple has been awarded a patent doesn’t mean we’ll see the Home button disappearing anytime soon; it just means Apple has been thinking about it. It would line up with rumors suggesting that the next iPhone’s screen will cover a much larger percentage of the front of the phone, however, leaving the Home button with nowhere to go except in the display itself.

That’s only one of the big hardware changes expected from the 10th-anniversary iPhone, which is to be launched later this year. Other anticipated features include a glass and steel body, a curved edge display, and even the long-awaited wireless charging.

Implementing the fingerprint scanner would likely use tech from LuxVue, a company that Apple acquired back in 2014. That tech comes in the form of micro-LEDs, which can be used as a replacement for capacitive touch arrays through the use of infrared diodes.

Product Review

Nokia’s 3.1 Plus is an affordable phone that’s crippled by its camera

The Nokia 3.1 Plus is HMD Global’s first smartphone to be sold by a U.S. carrier in-store. It’s only available on Cricket Wireless right now, which underlines its focus on affordability. Should you buy a phone this affordable?
Business

Apple loses battle to use Intel modems in Germany in latest clash with Qualcomm

Apple is following the Federal Trade Commission's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.
Mobile

It hasn't even been announced yet, but you can already reserve the Galaxy S10

It won't be long now. With 2019 underway, the Samsung Galaxy S10 is almost here. Before it arrives, here's absolutely everything you need to know about all three of Samsung's next flagships.
Mobile

New rumors suggest the iPhone 2019 will continue to use Lightning over USB-C

While it's not been long since the last iPhones launched, rumors for the next iPhone are already surfacing. Apple's 2019 flagship could include a variety of upgrades ranging from a new design to enhanced features.
Cars

Will Apple sell its Touch ID and Face ID technology to automakers?

Recent patent filings suggest Apple wants its Touch ID and Face ID technologies to spread across the automotive industry. The company outlined how motorists could use their finger or their face to unlock their car.
Mobile

Happy Valentine’s Day! Coffee Meets Bagel dating app data may have been breached

Are you planning on using Coffee Meets Bagel to find love on Valentine's Day? If you've been using the app for a while, you'll probably want to change your password -- the company said a data breach may have taken place before May 2018.
Mobile

Exclusive: Take a look at what a next-generation 5G phone will look like

With 5G phones debuting at MWC in mere days, there is discussion about whether they will be clunky bricks that die after a few hours? A reference design from Qualcomm offerrs a glimpse of the future: This is what 5G phones will look like.
Mobile

Worried about extra data charges? Here's how to check your usage on an iPhone

It's common to get a little nervous about nearing data limits. Keep your peace of mind by checking how much data your iPhone is using. Our guide on how to check data usage on an iPhone helps you stay in control.
Mobile

North Focals smartglasses discount cuts the price by a massive $400

Canadian startup North is hoping smartglasses will be the next big wearable. After announcing its new Focals smartglasses in late 2018, the company opened product showrooms in Brooklyn and Toronto and has made its first shipment.
Mobile

New Apple patent hints clamshell-style foldable phone may be in the works

Apple has filed a patent for a foldable phone that suggests the company could be following in the footsteps of the likes of Samsung and Huawei. The patent describes a clamshell-style foldable phone with two separate sections.
Mobile

Xiaomi Mi 9 will be one of the first phones with monster Snapdragon 855 chip

Xiaomi's next major smartphone release will be the Mi 9, and the company hasn't held back in giving us a good look at the phone, revealing the design, the camera, and a stunning color.
Wearables

Galaxy Watch Active isn't official yet, but you can see it in Samsung's own app

Samsung may be about to resurrect its Sport line of smartwatches under a new name: The Galaxy Watch Sport Active. Leaks and rumors are building our picture of the device at the moment.
Mobile

Stop buying old tablets, says Samsung, buy the new Galaxy Tab S5e instead

Samsung has launched the Galaxy Tab S5e -- the E is for Essential -- a reasonably priced tablet that includes many of the features we like from the Tab A 10.5, and the Tab S4. Here's what you need to know.
Mobile

Bag yourself a bargain with the best budget tablets under $200

The battle for your budget tablet affections is really ramping up. Which tablet, costing less than $200, should be commanding your attention? We take a look at some different options for the budget-conscious.