A couple of reports over the past few weeks have suggested that Apple is already working on completely overhauling the iPhone design, and making a change many fans of the smartphone want. The company is far from being ready to confirm anything, of course, but it’s apparently making all the right moves.
According to CNNMoney, Apple is seemingly interested in purchasing a new startup that might prove to be pivotal to the iPhone’s future. Called Privaris, the company deals with fingerprint scanning technology that might find its way into future iPhone models and help Apple finally ditch the home button from future designs.
The Virginia-based startup has transferred 26 of 31 patents to Apple, suggesting that Privaris tech might be incorporated into future Touch ID scanners.
Privaris makes tiny fingerprint readers that attach to a key chain, CNN reports. Interestingly, one of the patents obtained by Apple details technology that would let someone use both a touchscreen and a fingerprint reader at the same time.
That particular patent seems to describe one of the pieces of the puzzle that Apple needs to solve – or has solved – to remove that home button.
Apple’s decision to include the Touch ID fingerprint sensor in the home button on every iPhone and iPad starting with the iPhone 5s appeared to be a confirmation that Apple would never ditch the physical button to extend the display. However, Apple already has patents that describe smartphones with curved displays that would incorporate physical buttons, and recent reports have suggested that Apple might indeed be working on an iPhone with a display that would include a fingerprint sensor.
Apple’s interest in Privaris’ patent portfolio is more evidence that a radical iPhone design change is coming in the future. However, Apple isn’t expected to significantly change the design of the iPhone this year, so the first iPhone candidate that might see such a major change might be next year’s iPhone 7.
Privaris also has patents covering fingerprint and touchscreen technology required for financial transactions, controlling machines and backing up data.
Apple apparently purchased the first three Privaris patents in mid-December 2012, and most of the remaining ones in October 2014.