The biometric authentication methods such as fingerprint sensors and facial recognition that many iPhone users have come to expect have been conspicuously absent from the Apple Watch. Not for long, perhaps, as Digital Trends reports that a new patent from Apple suggests an update could be in the future.
The patent outlines the use of “biometric sensing pixels” that can detect the wearer’s wrist skin texture pattern so that users can unlock their watches automatically upon wearing them. Digital Trends observes that sensors could be incorporated not only on the wristband, but also on the body of the watch itself.
The “infrared sensor could also be used to distinguish things like hair from the texture of the actual skin, which could help ensure a more accurate reading.”
Sensor types for authentication could vary and include electric field sensors and infrared sensors, to name a few. For example, as Digital Trends notes, the “infrared sensor could also be used to distinguish things like hair from the texture of the actual skin, which could help ensure a more accurate reading.”
A patent does not mean that a product launch is imminent. Digital Trends casts doubts on the notion of Apple incorporating sensor tech into watch bands at the moment given the market size for third-party watch bands. The first order of business would likely to incorporate sensors into the watch body, the outlet says.
A successor to the Apple Watch Series 4 is hotly awaited with an expected release around September 2019. Digital Trends points out that since the Apple Watch Series 4 was a quantum leap design-wise, updates to the Series 5 will likely be more modest, but still welcome.