A new patent unearthed at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) shows that Apple is going in a different direction for in-screen fingerprint scanning technology. Instead of a small image sensor, it aims to use a large dielectric sensor to read fingerprints.
The patent sketches shows how the system will work. Apple envisions the dielectric sensor to take a large portion of the screen, rather than just a small patch. Unlike the singular ultrasonic fingerprint sensor shown by Qualcomm or the optical-based sensor seen on devices such as the Vivo NEX, this system will use multiple sensors used concurrently with multiple cameras to read the ridges and valleys in a fingerprint.
An advantage of this system is the sheer size of the scanner; it allows scanning to be done on almost any part of the screen, and there is potential of multi-finger scanning as well. The drawback would be the price, as a new system will not have the economic of scale afforded by tried-and-tested hardware.
We will have to wait and see if Apple will actually roll out this new scanner. Even we try to be optimistic, it is likely that this technology will not be out until few years down the road.