The patent is titled 'Photodetectors Integrated into Thin-Film Transistor Backplanes'. Without going into too much detail, the patent basically details how to embed Touch ID and Face ID sensors under a phone screen. Doing so would enable more ways to unlock the device and authenticate payments without having an unsightly notch eating into the screen space.
These technologies aren't brand new – phones with in-screen fingerprint sensors and selfie cameras are already on sale, but the execution has been a bit hit and miss. Apple is hoping it can nail both to provide an effortless user experience.
As well as appearing in the iPhone range, the tech could also appear in the Apple Watch, where screen real estate is even more precious. And maybe the iPad range too.
Just because Apple has filed a patent, it doesn't automatically mean the tech will make an appearance in Apple products. This particular patent was filed in July 2020, which could be too soon for the iPhone 13. But if you're not particularly enamoured with the notch, the fact the patent even exists could be cause for celebration.
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