Apple has been granted a patent (number 10,768,751) dubbed “electronic device including optical image sensor having metallization layers and related methods.” It indicated that Apple is still investigating the idea of incorporating Touch ID under the screen of an iPhone, an iPad, and perhaps even a Mac rather than having a separate Touch ID button.
Touch ID is an electronic fingerprint recognition feature, designed and released by Apple that allows users to unlock Apple devices, make purchases in the various Apple digital media stores (the iTunes Store, the App Store, and the Apple BookStore), and authenticate Apple Pay online or in apps.
In the patent data, Apple says that A fingerprint sensor in an electronic device may be “particularly advantageous for verification and/or authentication in an electronic device, and more particularly, a portable device, for example.” Such a fingerprint sensor may be carried by the housing of a portable electronic device, for example, and may be sized to sense a fingerprint from a single-finger.
Here’s the summary of the invention: “An electronic device may include an optical image sensor that includes optical image sensing circuitry and metallization layers above the optical image sensing circuitry. Each layer may have at least one light transmissive collimation opening therein aligned with the optical image sensing circuitry. The electronic device may also include a light source layer above the optical image sensor and a transparent cover layer above the light source layer defining a finger placement surface configured to receive a finger adjacent thereto.”