If you’ve ever wanted some kind of biometric system on your Apple Watch, you’re not alone. Apple engineers are also thinking about how to install the Touch ID fingerprint sensor on their Apple Watch. At least according to the patent application, that is.
title “”Sealed button Electronic device with biometric authentication system,A patent application filed by Apple describes how to install a fingerprint sensor inside a smartwatch. This application describes the technical aspects and the different ways to achieve them, as well as some use case scenarios.
The attached schematic shows a side button that looks similar to the Touch ID power button on the iPad Air. The Apple Watch provides enough space on the side to accommodate a button of that size, so this idea doesn’t really sound quirky. In addition to acting as a power button, tapping the power button also acts as a biometric channel for various tasks.
Interestingly, this patent application envisions placing the fingerprint sensor assembly inside a digital crown. The crown retains rotational functionality, but the central static area hides the Touch ID sensor behind a flat contact surface.
In particular, the patent also describes the use of the in-display fingerprint sensor, which is a common solution for Android smartphones. “The display may also provide an input surface for one or more input devices, such as a touch sensing device and / or a fingerprint sensor,” reads the proposal.
Why install Touch ID on your Apple Watch?
It may sound like a retrograde movement. After all, why do you need to authenticate your fingerprint pattern just by checking the time? There is a reason why raise to wake is a staple of smartwatches. It’s not just made by Apple. However, the patent application published on July 5 has some important advantages.
Not surprisingly, as in the jargon-rich description section, the Apple Watch’s fingerprint sensor “unlocks electronic devices, approves transactions, sends alerts, and / or runs on electronic devices. You can enable your application. If that sounds ambiguous, let’s take a closer look at some of those scenarios.
Apple Watch can perform many impressive tasks such as getting an electrocardiogram, measuring blood oxygen saturation, and paying. Soon, fever will be detected. In the coming years, it could also add non-invasive blood glucose and blood pressure monitoring to its arsenal.
However, the storage of highly sensitive information, especially personal health and bank details, needs to be secure. In these situations, locking that data behind a layer of biometric security is the right way to go.
Next is the convenience aspect. You no longer have to enter your passcode or PIN to verify your payment. However, Apple isn’t the only smartwatch maker that wants to equip fashionable watches with biometric systems.
Samsung has a similar dream
According to a Business Korea report dating back to 2014, Samsung has signed a deal with PayPal aimed at verifying transactions using fingerprint sensors. Synaptics is reported to be roped in to provide a biometric module.
These plans have not been realized as of 2022. However, this technology was demonstrated at the 2017 Android Wear smartwatch event. As you can see in the video above, the sensor was placed on a strap right next to the edge of the screen for easy access.
In 2018, Patently Mobile reported on Samsung’s patent, which places a fingerprint sensor at the bottom of the screen and taps in the middle. Again, the system hasn’t appeared in Samsung smartwatches yet, but it gave us a glimpse into a promising future.
Similar to these implementations, Apple Watch’s Touch ID may be at a similar stage. Apple has a patent for this technology and is clearly working on it, but it’s unclear if and when it will be revealed in the actual product. We certainly want it to happen sooner than it will be late, but it’s too early to know for sure at this stage.