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New patent shows Apple may combine fingerprint scanner, NFC

Published Sep 9th, 2013 5:00PM EDT
Apple iPhone Fingerprint Scanner Patent

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Apple may have some use for near field communications (NFC) after all. A new patent application flagged by Patently Apple shows that Apple has at least toyed around with embedding NFC capabilities into the fingerprint scanner on its upcoming iPhones and other devices. Patently Apple comments that this means “circuitry such as filter or switching circuitry may be used to couple both the near field communications circuitry and the sensor circuitry to a common conductive structure,” which “allows the conductive structure to be shared between sensor functions such as fingerprint or touch sensor functions and near field communications functions.” Apple has largely been dismissive about NFC’s potential in the past, so it will be interesting to see if the company comes up with any unique uses for the technology if it includes it in the iPhone 5S.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.