Face ID might be the predominant security feature on Apple’s iPhones and iPads for the next few years. Apple has touted how the feature is more secure, but yet there are certain limitations on it. For example you have to look at your phone in order for it to unlock, versus fingerprint where you can unlock it without having to look at your phone which can come in handy.
Perhaps Apple recognizes the usefulness of fingerprints over facial recognition, because a recently discovered patent has shown that Apple is still exploring the idea of implementing fingerprint scanning technology into its iPhones. Dubbed “Acoustic pulse coding for imaging of input devices”, this system uses sound to detect if an object comes into contact with the sensor, such as a finger, for example.
It will be capable of reading the fingerprint when sound impulses are sent out and come into contact with the finger, where the ridges of our fingerprint will interrupt the impulse’s transit and reflected, thus allowing a fingerprint to be read. One of the main advantages to such a system is that since it relies on sound, the user’s fingerprint can be placed anywhere on the display of the device instead of having to rely on one portion of the screen.
Unfortunately since this is only a patent, there’s no telling if Apple ever plans on implementing it. At the moment only Apple’s iPhones and MacBook laptops still rely on the fingerprint sensor, although with the 2018 iPad Pro adopting Face ID, we wouldn’t be surprised if future MacBooks were to adopt it as well.