The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 44 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover a fascinating new ultrasonic fingerprint sensor system that could be set on both the front and backside of an iDevice. This report also covers a fingerprint reader built into the display of an iDevice and built-in bezel controls for iDevices. Yet perhaps the most interesting granted patent of the day goes to a mysterious design patent for a possible future MacBook. A number of Apple’s patent figures display a consistent mysterious element that will definitely leave you wondering what they might have up their sleeve.
Patent: Ultrasonic Fingerprint Sensors for iPhone
Apple’s newly granted patent covers their invention relating to an ultrasonic touch sensor that is configured to identify aspects of a touch on a device. The ultrasonic touch sensor may be configured to identify the location of a touch on a surface and/or identify biometric information associated with the touch.
In some embodiments, the biometric information includes a fingerprint associated with the touch. By identifying the fingerprint associated with a touch, the identity of the user can be verified, which may be useful for authorizing a transaction or performing a security operation.
FIG. 2A depicts a front view of an example electronic device having an ultrasonic touch sensor; FIG. 2B depicts a rear view of an example electronic device having an ultrasonic touch sensor. Figure 2B also illustrates that biometrics could have been obtained from the user on the backside as well.
Apple’s granted patent was originally filed in Q4 2014 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Patent: Fingerprint Sensor under the Display
Apple’s newly granted patent covers their invention relating to one or more fingerprint sensors in a display stack of an electronic device. In one aspect, an electronic device can include a display stack comprising a cover sheet disposed over a display layer, and a fingerprint sensor included in the display stack. The fingerprint sensor captures a fingerprint image of one or more fingers positioned on a top surface of the cover sheet. In one embodiment, the fingerprint sensor is attached to a bottom surface of the cover sheet.
Apple’s granted patent was originally filed in Q3 2014 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office. For more information on this invention, see Patently Apple’s 2015 patent application report titled “Apple Introduces an Alternative Touch ID Method using Full-Display Fingerprint Sensors.”
Patent: Touch Controls in iPad Bezel
Apple’s newly granted patent covers their invention relating to an electronic device having a display and a surrounding touch sensitive bezel for user interface and control.
Apple’s patent FIG. 4 illustrates an embodiment of an electronic device having a display and a touch sensitive bezel; FIG. 7 illustrates a process of operating the electronic device in flow chart form.
Apple’s granted patent was originally filed in Q2 2015 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office. You could learn more from the original patent filing that we covered back in 2010 here.
Apple’s Granted Design Patents
Apple was granted design patents for their AR icon or glyph and MacBook.
What’s very interesting with the MacBook design patent is that Apple filed it with a blanked out area shown in patent figures 10, 12 and 13. That leaves this MacBook design patent in a bit of a mysterious position.
Will Apple include the MacBook Pro “Touch Bar” to the MacBook in the future? Is Apple illustrating a possible Virtual keyboard / Apple Pencil area to replace the traditional keyboard? Patently Apple posted a report on one of Apple’s patent applications on this possibility back in March titled “Apple Invents Keyless Keyboards for Macs and iPad Pro with Morphing Interface Options for Gaming, Music & more.”
This is by far the most mysterious and interesting design patent that I’ve seen from Apple in some time. I don’t know about you, but it definitely has my attention. What will Apple fill that blanked out area with?
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