KEY POINTS

  • Apple may bring back the TouchID feature in iPhone 12
  • It has designed an under-display fingerprint-based TouchID system
  • It has also created a sodium-ion process for creating strengthened glass

Apple had ditched the TouchID with the iPhone X, but the company may be bringing it back, with the 2020 iteration of the device. The company has registered a new patent for an under-display TouchID, similar to under-display fingerprint scanners found on devices such as the OnePlus 7 Pro.

According to the patent, the future iPhone could have an optical sensor that is covered by a face glass.

"A transparent window region may extend over a display component, a camera,  an optical sensor, or another optical or visual device,” the patent, which was published Wednesday and uncovered by Patently Apple reads.

The positioning of the TouchID is not clear yet. However, the patent drawings show it at a similar point where the old TouchID existed.

The patent also lists a strengthened glass although, it’s not the sapphire glass that has been rumored for long. Instead, the company has created a new molecular process for creating strengthened glass.

The company has created a dual ion process by immersing the glass in sodium ions and then immersing it potassium ions. Upon immersion in potassium ions, the sodium ions move towards the middle of the glass while the potassium ions cover the top of the glass. This forms a compression layer that can take impacts of falls and not crack easily. This process creates glass with less warpage – It will not crack if the phone falls at a certain angle, unlike current iPhones.

The chemical process using ion-exchange makes the glass hard yet smooth and the diffusion that occurs between the glass and the ions also makes it less reflective.

Apple has till date relied on Corning for its Gorilla Glass protection, but now it may be creating its own toughened glass. Chances are that it may cut on repair costs as broken screens are the biggest iPhone repair generally demanded.

Apple TouchID Apple has designed an under-display TouchID system. Photo: IBTimes/Luke Villapaz