Apple hasn't abandoned Touch ID in flagship iPhones yet

Posted:
in General Discussion edited August 2020
Apple is researching a version of Touch ID would use sensors behind an OLED screen rather than via a specific button -- and Apple includes a laptop in its examples of touchscreen devices.

Left: the original Touch ID. Right: Face ID. Center: mockup of all-display Touch ID
Left: the original Touch ID. Right: Face ID. Center: mockup of all-display Touch ID


A new patent from Apple details how devices with an OLED screen can provide Touch ID-like functionality across any point of the display's "active area." Among the examples of the method's application, Apple describes a laptop -- and this follows the recent hint of a touchscreen MacBook Pro in another recent patent.

"This relates to a touch screen and, more particularly, to a touch screen configured for optical touch sensing and user identification using organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs)," says Apple in US Patent No 10,541,280, "OLED based touch sensing and user identification."

"Touch screens, in particular, are becoming increasingly popular because of their ease and versatility of operation as well as their declining price," it continues. "Touch screens can include a touch sensor and a display device positioned partially or fully behind the touch sensor so that the touch-sensitive surface can cover at least a portion of the active area of the display device."

While listing other technologies that can be used for touchscreens, such as LCDs, the patent says that OLED has clear advantages.

"OLEDs, for example, can provide a flat or flexible display in a relatively thin package that can be suitable for use in a variety of portable electronic devices," it says. "In addition, OLED displays can display brighter and more vibrant images in a thinner and lighter package compared to LCD displays, making them suitable for use in compact portable electronic devices."

The drawings accompanying the patent include one showing a laptop with a touchscreen, although the accompanying text instead describes a "personal computer... (e.g., a tablet computer or desktop computer)."

Detail from the patent showing a laptop with a touchscreen
Detail from the patent showing a laptop with a touchscreen


With any type of device, the patent describes how the user or other objects can be identified "based on its optical properties."

"For example, water can have an absorption band around 1700 nm, whereas a finger object can have an absorption band around 1000-1500 nm," it says. "In some examples, water... and object... can have different spectral 'fingerprints.' A spectral fingerprint can include the absorbance (or reflectance) values across a spectrum of wavelength (e.g., visible range)."

"Based on the frequency of the reflected light or spectral 'fingerprint' detected by the plurality of OLEDs, a processor or controller can determine the type of object," it continues.

The "plurality" of OLEDs is to do with how one or more than display an image, emit light for this optical touch sensing, and even detect reflections of that emitted light.

"[An] approximate touch location can be determined by capacitive touch sensors, and one or more finer details can be resolved by optical touch sensors. The touch screen can include a spatial filter configured to focus light emitted from the OLEDs and/or reflected light detected by the OLEDs for improved optical touch sensing. Emitted light can reflect off an object (e.g., a finger) touching or hovering proximate to the touch screen, for example."

So as well as identifying the user, such a system could interpret a hovering action as well.

The two credited inventors, Christoph H. Krah and Kingsuk Brahma, have between them around 80 patents. Very many of them are concerned with touch displays, including systems for proximity and multi-touch sensor detection, plus power management for touch controllers.

This is not the first time that Apple has filed a patent regarding a whole-display Touch ID. A previous application included the use of acoustic imaging to achieve identification.

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has also reported claims that Apple will reinstate "fingerprint on display" Touch ID for iPhones in 2021.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    Touch ID will never be as convenient as Face ID.....Face ID takes zero effort......Touch ID not so much...looks like I'll be holding on to my 11 Pro for a while.
    razorpit
  • Reply 2 of 19
    Touch ID will never be as convenient as Face ID.....Face ID takes zero effort......Touch ID not so much...looks like I'll be holding on to my 11 Pro for a while.
    Face ID will never be as convenient as TouchID. Touch ID takes zero effort when you are wearing protective headgear eg Crash helmets.

    Each of us has their own use case and will find that one or the other is the best. Having to take my crash helmet off just to use Face ID is just not  practical.
    muthuk_vanalingamralphiehenrybaychemengin1MissNomerdarkvader
  • Reply 3 of 19
    M68000M68000 Posts: 388member
    Touch ID will never be as convenient as Face ID.....Face ID takes zero effort......Touch ID not so much...looks like I'll be holding on to my 11 Pro for a while.
    There are a lot of people who prefer Touch ID.  If you don’t that’s fine.  Having both options in future phones could be a great thing.  Also,  having such ability may allow cheaper phone option with full screen and no Face ID.  It looks like Apple is now happy having several phone options all the time. What will really be interesting to find out is power consumption between using Face ID and this new version of Touch ID.
    edited January 2020 muthuk_vanalingamSpamSandwichchemengin1MissNomer
  • Reply 4 of 19
    jcs2305jcs2305 Posts: 1,228member
    Touch ID will never be as convenient as Face ID.....Face ID takes zero effort......Touch ID not so much...looks like I'll be holding on to my 11 Pro for a while.
    Face ID will never be as convenient as TouchID. Touch ID takes zero effort when you are wearing protective headgear eg Crash helmets.

    Each of us has their own use case and will find that one or the other is the best. Having to take my crash helmet off just to use Face ID is just not  practical.
    I also don’t think the majority of Face ID users are using them with crash helmets either.   I have no problems with a hat, beard no beard or reflective sunglasses using Touch ID. However on my iPad Pro 10.5 it’s often takes me a couple or tries to get it to open with Touch ID. I have my index and thumbs on both hands set up. It frequently doesn’t take my index fingers. It also doesn’t like the slightest bit of moisture on my hands either. These are things that simply don’t happen with Fade Id. At least for me. 

    I would def like the option of having both as in the case of being off angle and Face ID won’t open or just as a secondary option. That would be a nice addition. I just don’t agree that with the majority of use cases that Face ID isn’t practical as you stated. 
    DancingMonkeysrazorpit
  • Reply 5 of 19
    I prefer Touch ID. And I'm not the only one who do! There is no reason for apple to drop that. 
    ralphieSpamSandwichMisterKithenrybaychemengin1darkvader
  • Reply 6 of 19
    crowleycrowley Posts: 9,319member
    I like Face Id a lot when it works, but it seems to be getting ever worse at recognising me or the iPhone inexplicably requiring a passcode before it'll allow a Face Id attempt.  I don't remember Touch Id ever being this flaky.
    henrybay
  • Reply 7 of 19
    razorpitrazorpit Posts: 1,796member
    jcs2305 said:
    Touch ID will never be as convenient as Face ID.....Face ID takes zero effort......Touch ID not so much...looks like I'll be holding on to my 11 Pro for a while.
    Face ID will never be as convenient as TouchID. Touch ID takes zero effort when you are wearing protective headgear eg Crash helmets.

    Each of us has their own use case and will find that one or the other is the best. Having to take my crash helmet off just to use Face ID is just not  practical.
    I also don’t think the majority of Face ID users are using them with crash helmets either.   I have no problems with a hat, beard no beard or reflective sunglasses using Touch ID. However on my iPad Pro 10.5 it’s often takes me a couple or tries to get it to open with Touch ID. I have my index and thumbs on both hands set up. It frequently doesn’t take my index fingers. It also doesn’t like the slightest bit of moisture on my hands either. These are things that simply don’t happen with Fade Id. At least for me. 

    I would def like the option of having both as in the case of being off angle and Face ID won’t open or just as a secondary option. That would be a nice addition. I just don’t agree that with the majority of use cases that Face ID isn’t practical as you stated. 
    Agreed. My iPad Pro is the only cookbook I need. Everyone here who thinks TouchID is better than FaceID has never worked in a kitchen with a device with TouchID.

    And chances are if you're wearing a "crash helmet", you are probably (should be) wearing some type of "crash gloves". I wear my protection helmet and easily use the 6 digit pin in those rare cases...
    StrangeDays
  • Reply 8 of 19
    Touch ID will never be as convenient as Face ID.....Face ID takes zero effort......Touch ID not so much...looks like I'll be holding on to my 11 Pro for a while.
    Face ID will never be as convenient as TouchID. Touch ID takes zero effort when you are wearing protective headgear eg Crash helmets.

    Each of us has their own use case and will find that one or the other is the best. Having to take my crash helmet off just to use Face ID is just not  practical.
    Have you tried registering a second face while wearing your helmet? I don’t know if it will work and I can’t try it as I no longer ride.
    razorpit
  • Reply 9 of 19
    There are simply use cases for both technologies. If Apple can implement both (note: Samsung already does), why not allow consumers the choice?

    Anyone here commenting that it should be either one but not both - what do you care? Use the one you prefer.  ;)
    brianmrazorpithenrybay
  • Reply 10 of 19
    I wish my iPhone XS had both - FaceID is great, and worked perfectly until it suddenly didn't between one minute and the next after cleaning the screen one day - hasn't worked since, the IR and Dot projection appears to be completely dead - and out of warranty (my mistake, first iPhone I've had that I didn't get AppleCare Plus)
    If it still had TouchID as well, it would be still secure and fast - as it is now I have to punch in my passcode to unlock every time, and things like banking I have to type in the password each time now, which is honestly less secure.
    henrybay
  • Reply 11 of 19
    geekmeegeekmee Posts: 503member
    I am glad that Apple is looking into both... It’s nice to have choice.
    razorpithenrybayMissNomer
  • Reply 12 of 19
    A huge difference between Touch ID and Face ID is that with Touch ID the user can make a decision as to whether to proceed or not. We have to move our finger to the sensor to make a decision to make a purchase, transaction, whatever. If Face ID is always on we do not have that last option to back out or change our mind. Especially if we have made a mistake or gotten to the wrong step by mistake.
    henrybaycornchip
  • Reply 13 of 19
    I'd love for it to have the option of requiring both, extra security.
    cornchipMissNomer
  • Reply 14 of 19
    Face ID sucks. and is dangerous when driving and it doesn't work. Touch was better in every way. stupid Apple, too sophisticated for their own good
    darkvader
  • Reply 15 of 19
    yojimbo007yojimbo007 Posts: 1,156member
    No harm in having both options in a device.

    My main issue is.. how do we get rid of the notch ... is annoying ! 
    razorpit
  • Reply 16 of 19
    I really, really miss Touch ID. I hope Trump nudges Cook to put it back on the iPhone ASAP when he meets him in Davos this week. 

    I just don’t trust facial recognition unlock technology - all those infrared beams in my eyes can’t be a good thing. 
  • Reply 17 of 19
    Touch ID will never be as convenient as Face ID.....Face ID takes zero effort......Touch ID not so much...looks like I'll be holding on to my 11 Pro for a while.
    Face ID will never be as convenient as TouchID. Touch ID takes zero effort when you are wearing protective headgear eg Crash helmets.

    Each of us has their own use case and will find that one or the other is the best. Having to take my crash helmet off just to use Face ID is just not  practical.
    I agree... to each, his own. Some people prefer Touch ID, while some prefer Face ID. However, for most people, it would be very hard to convince them to go back to Touch ID once they have experienced the convenience of Face ID. You have cited one of the very few instances where one may prefer to unlock their phone by touching a button with their finger rather than by looking at the screen.

    In your example, I assume that you would still have the inconvenience of having to take your gloves off each and every time you needed to unlock your phone... I suspect that you would also have to take your helmet off on the occasion that you needed to make or take a call.

    Nevertheless, here are some facts pertaining to the superiority of Face ID over Touch ID that are not in dispute:
    • The chance of a random finger unlocking your phone is 1 in 50,000 while the risk of a random face (that is not your biological twin) unlocking your phone is 1 in 1,000,000. This makes Face ID 20x more secure than Touch ID.
    • Face ID will recognize you even if you grow a beard, wear glasses or a hat while  Touch ID will often refuse to work if your finger is wet (rain or workout) or has a cut or abrasion on it. This makes Face ID much more accurate and reliable in most scenarios.
  • Reply 18 of 19
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,870member
    MisterKit said:
    A huge difference between Touch ID and Face ID is that with Touch ID the user can make a decision as to whether to proceed or not. We have to move our finger to the sensor to make a decision to make a purchase, transaction, whatever. If Face ID is always on we do not have that last option to back out or change our mind. Especially if we have made a mistake or gotten to the wrong step by mistake.
    this is a very subtle, but I think, important advantage of Touch ID. otherwise I don't have a super strong favor for one over the other. As an other poster pointed out though, having the option to have both for extra security ie purchases could be pretty compelling.
  • Reply 19 of 19
    henrybay said:
    all those infrared beams in my eyes can’t be a good thing. 
    Better not go outside ever again.
    razorpitwatto_cobra
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