If the majority of iPhone owners were to be honest and lay their cards on the line, we imagine that a fairly high percentage would love the idea of having a bezel-less iPhone. That would involve a smartphone device that essentially has a full glass display that extends from edge-to-edge without any breaks or bezels or buttons around the outer edges. Visual artists and concept designers have been pumping out these type of designs for years in the hope that Apple would take notice and introduce a design that follows this trend. We now have our clearest indication yet that Apple could be on the same design wavelength thanks to a recently granted patent to Apple that outlines a method of embedding a Touch ID sensor into the glass display of a smartphone.
In theory, devices that contain edge-to-edge displays with no bezel whatsoever on the front are an unbelievably beautiful idea. The thought of holding and interacting with an iPhone that is essentially a full glass front is definitely an appealing one, but one of the biggest stumbling blocks in developing such a device has always been how to actually integrate the Home button and Touch ID sensor into the device if the bottom bezel is to be completely removed.
A number of third-party companies have already come up with solutions to this with transparent fingerprint sensors, but it now looks as though Apple is looking to overcome the challenge with ultrasonic imaging.
The most accurate but least common finger-scanning technology is ultrasound imaging. In this type of sensor, two transducers are placed on the x- and y-axis of a plate of glass–one each for receiving and transmitting–for propagating ultrasound waves through a glass plate; when the finger is placed on top of the glass, the finger impedes the waves and the receiving transducer can measure the alteration in wave patterns. This type of scanner is very new and largely untested in a variety of conditions, but initial results show promise for the technology. It combines the large plate size and ease of use of the optical scanners with the ability to pervade dirt and residue on the scanner, an advantage over capacitive scanners.
Of course, the Home button and underlying Touch ID sensor isn’t the only challenge that Apple needs to overcome if it is to produce an entirely bezel-less device. There’s still the challenge of figuring out what to do with the forward-facing camera and other components. With that said, it’s amazing to see Apple looking to tackle this problem head on with innovative solutions and we literally cannot wait to see if we see a bezel-less iPhone introduced one day soon.
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