Apple’s 3D Touch technology could be headed to the company’s home button. A new patent out of Cupertino shows how the firm might combine Touch ID fingerprint recognition and haptic feedback into a single module.
The patent, which was filed back in 2013 and finally approved this week, describes a “Force-sensitive fingerprint sensing input.” That means the iPhone’s home button might not be a physical button in the future. Instead, it could simply become a flat surface with haptic feedback.
Apple also details a few features that could be possible with the new technology. The button may recognize various gestures and even “near touches.” That makes it sound like you might not even need to actually press the button to interact with it.
The patent even hints that the same technology could be incorporated into other devices, including an Apple TV remote, Macs and even some accessories. But first we’ll probably see Apple introduce it on a future iPhone.
It’s possible we might even see 3D Touch and Touch ID combined into a single button in time for the iPhone 7. Apple’s clearly had a lot of time to work on the technology, though it’s also possible the company has already moved on to new and more exciting ideas.