Touch ID is undoubtedly the best new feature in the iPhone 5S. While Touch ID is cool today, a new patent from Apple shows that it might become even cooler in the future.
A newly surfaced patent reveals that Touch ID may at some point evolve to act as a sort of trackpad. A user could tilt his thumb or slide it from left to right over the Touch ID fingerprint sensor to do things like pan across an on-screen map.
Apple says that the home button could even be used to function like the classic iPod scroll wheel, in order to play simple games.
Another thing the patent dives into is Touch ID integrated into the display itself, with Apple referencing how this technology could be used to create multiple user profile options on iOS.
Here’s a list of interesting bullet points from the 610 page document, which consists of 464 different patent claims: (via MacRumors)
- Enhanced touch typing recognition through sensing which fingers are touching the keys
- Using pressure and movement sensing to turn the home button into a simple game controller
- Using revolving “scroll wheel” motions on the home button to navigate through multitasking app listings
- Using fingerprint verification to enforce parental controls on age-rated media content, restrict maximum device volume, or automatically increase font sizes for children, seniors, or visually-impaired users
- Autofilling web forms or loading personalized web pages based on fingerprint identification
- Supporting multi-user profiles including authorized and guest profiles through fingerprint authorization
- Authorizing location “check-ins”, mobile payment information, or photo/document author tagging based on fingerprint identification
- Supporting simultaneous multi-user configurations by allowing users to define separate areas of a device’s screen for drawings, notes, or other content based on fingerprint recognition
Hopefully we don’t have to wait through too many more iPhone generations to get some of these features.