3D fingerprint sensors under Gorilla Glass may let Apple kill iPhone’s Home button

“Dedicated fingerprint sensors may be nearing extinction,” Nate Swanner reports for TNW. “Today, Sonovation announced technology that puts ultrasonic biometric sensors under Gorilla Glass that can be used to read fingerprints.”

“The technology includes manufacturing and bonding the sensors directly to the display material,” Swanner reports. “Currently, Sonovation is only announcing compatibility with Corning Gorilla Glass; likely not a problem unless Apple can manufacture Sapphire glass on a large scale for use in iPhones.”

“Of course, this is just an announcement of a cool new technology,” Swanner reports. “There’s still no word on when we might see it on our phones and tablets, but the clock is ticking for home buttons and dedicated sensors.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Eventually, removing that physical Home button will allow iOS devices to become even more invisible to the user. Just a screen, no bezels or anything else, that’s the ultimate goal.

Apple working on eliminating the Home button on iPhone, iPad, sources say – June 22, 2015
Apple files for patent to move Touch ID fingerprint scanner from home button to display – February 9, 2015

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Brawndo Drinker” for the heads up.]


    1. If I were on safari in Africa, I would pay good money for a gorilla sensor. Of course, of more use in my everyday life would be a grouchy coworker sensor or a peeved spouse detector.

  1. You will pretty much always have to have a physical button some where on the unit to break a software crash. Shutting power to all but a reset circuit will usually be required.

    Asking software to interrupt software is never a good last resort. LOL

    1. You sound like a self appointed ‘expert’. Just because you can’t imagine a solution doesn’t mean that there isn’t a solution. I came up with two solutions immediately and a third at the time of this writing.

    2. More importantly, Home button has metal ring for a reason. Without it, Apple would have to run the sensor in always on mode, which is very bad for mobile devices.

      With this ultrasonic sensor, the issue is the same. It is energy-hungry and to turn it on, users will have to use some additional movement/touch — so in the end it will be worse for user experience than current solution.

      1. That’s like saying all interrupts on your PC/Mac ALWAYS have to be on (e.g. you have a mouse pointer on your screen even when you don’t have a mouse or touchpad activated)… Most likely the fingerprint sensing mode of the screen can be turned on or off via API provided with the display controller.

  2. I don’t understand the fascination with the Home button. There is still the volume buttons, the muteswitch, and the power button. The Home button makes it look like an iPhone. Why the push to get rid of it?

    1. True.. If you remove the home button the iPhone will look like the Galaxy S2 Epic 4G Touch, or any other Android smartphone with only capacitive buttons on the front.

  3. I would think that a fingerprint sensor would be more complicated and expensive than a normal touch sensor. Why try to use 10 sq. inches of fingerprint sensor when 0.5 sq. inches is already so easy to use?

  4. Why has there ever been a reason for Apple to ‘kill’ the home button? Great if a fingerprint can be read from under the screen. But you still end up with screen real estate devoted to only the home button.

    IOW: That home button space is ALSO going to be able to used for other full screen purposes? How?

    1. if you are just now thinking about this, keep thinking

      there are many ways this can come to fruition, and my guess is that they have been thinking for some time…

      i bet they even have a whole team with nothing to do but think about and research solutions to this very idea

      or maybe they just release an internet meme and wait for one of the creative blog posters to come up with the brilliant idea? (crowdsourcing the future)

    1. More likely less incentive for Apple to use Sapphire screens if they want the new fingerprint capability in a reasonable time-frame from when Android devices start using it..

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