Apple has been granted a patent for an “interactive display panel with IR diodes” — a method that would let users activate a device through a virtual home button placed within the touchscreen.
The technology, described in a filing made public Tuesday by the US Patent and Trade Office, could replace the physical home button that’s traditionally occupied the space below the iPhone’s screen reports The Cnet.
The patent says, “Exemplary methods and systems use a micro light emitting diode (LED) in an active matrix display to emit light and a sensing IR diode to sense light,” with the sensing IR diode detecting and reading fingerprints.
According to The Verge, this design differs from the active display matrix and interactive screen hardware often found on other mobile devices, which “require two separate devices to be layered together,” according to the patent.
As AppleInsider reports, Apple may be looking to “ditch Touch ID altogether as it moves to a new, more advanced system,” because “a touchscreen capable of acting as an input device and fingerprint scanner would save space and grant greater design flexibility.”