In-display fingerprint scanners may not be a common sight on budget smartphones just yet but they have become quite the norm when it comes to Android flagships.

Well, it now appears that Apple, a company which has stayed away from trying in-display scanners on its devices, is planning to jump on the hype train as well.

Spotted first by Patently Apple, the US Patent and Trademark Office has just granted Apple the green light for a patent which appears to be a likely alternative to Touch ID.

The patent showcases “methods of biometric imaging of input surfaces”, which directly relate to an acoustic imaging system. Using this newly patented technique, a high-resolution image of an object can be mapped, in this case, a fingerprint. Since Apple has never used an in-display fingerprint scanner in any of its devices yet, this patent getting published may be a start.

As per the patent, an acoustic transducer is configured to generate acoustic outputs in response to a signal from a controller. The outputs may be in the form of mechanical waves or pulses, and they will be coded with the help of the controller.

To obtain the image of the fingerprint, the acoustic imaging system can use a multitude of techniques, including reflection, diffraction and transmission. Further notes from the patent state that the acoustic imaging system can also be used to map biometrically unique features of the fingers like size, shape and skin patterns.

The notes also affirm that Apple’s imaging technique can capture features like the user’s ears and other prominent features as well.

Considering that Apple originally filed the patent in Q3 of 2016, this new tech may not see the light of day anytime soon. However, implications of the tech can be incorporated in newer Apple devices, and since Apple is focused on security rather than plain convenience, we won’t be surprised if the company implementation is the best-in-class.

To recall, arch competitor, Samsung, earlier this year launched the world’s first ultrasonic in-display fingerprint scanner — which a lot of people (including us) were unhappy with. Hopefully, Apple does better.

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