Apple Inc. has already removed the headphone jack in the iPhone 7, and there could be more features removed next. The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) awarded the iPhone maker on Tuesday with a patent for a technology that would assist it in removing the home button, and bake the feature and the Touch ID fingerprint sensor directly into the glass of the smartphone.
CNN was the first to discover this patent, which provides for users to scan their fingerprint anywhere on the surface of the screen. This feature makes existing home button obsolete. So, it won’t be wrong to say that it is next on Apple’s hit list. This year, the smartphone maker eliminated its iPhone’s headphone jack after saying that port was obsolete, notes Fortune.
Apple expected to make big changes to next iPhone
There have been speculations since months that the tech giant is planning a big revision to the design of the iPhone in 2017. The iPhone maker will deliver an all-glass iPhone, as well as, a new technology next year, say reports. In addition, Apple Inc. is rumored to be looking for a way to eliminate the Touch ID home button with a fingerprint sensor that would reside in the glass of the next smartphone.
The patent awarded on Tuesday suggests that the Silicon Valley firm is really thinking about making such a move and is working hard to get it into an iPhone at some time in the future. It would be the next logical step for Apple, even when it would mark a dramatic shift for the iPhone design. Since its launch in 2007, the firm has offered a home button in the iPhone. Also, in 2013, it transitioned to a fingerprint-sensor-equipped button, which enables users to securely unlock their device.
Until this year, Apple stuck with that technology. Now, the iPhone 7 come with a revised home button that cannot be pressed in. The button instead has a taptic feedback engine that registers a vibration whenever users make use of it.
No Home button, means more screen space
Moving forward, Apple Inc. could put a fingerprint sensor directly into the glass of the smartphone. Such a move would “save valuable surface space” for users to see content. Most importantly, the iPhone maker could deliver that major design upgrade that users hoped to see on the iPhone, notes Fortune.
We know that fingerprint-sensing technology and huge leaps in screen are not easy to achieve. The smartphone maker has not confirmed its plans, and the new patent does not mean that the home button has to go or will go. The tech giant patents many technologies that never make it into a finished product.