Apple has been granted a patent (number 10,542,280) for “OLED based touch sensing and user identification” that hints at OLED screens with TouchID in future iPhones, iPads, and even touchscreen Macs.
Touch ID is an electronic fingerprint recognition feature, designed and released by Apple that allows users to unlock Apple devices, make purchases in the various Apple digital media stores (the iTunes Store, the App Store, and the Apple BookStore), and authenticate Apple Pay online or in apps.
In the patent filing, Apple says that recent advancements in touch sensor technology have allowed capacitance-based touch sensors to perform at higher speeds and at higher touch resolutions than was previously possible. Some applications, such as user identification, may desire a higher sensitivity and/or resolution than capacitance-based touch sensing.
Here’s the summary of the patent: “A touch screen configured for optical touch sensing and user identification using organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs) is disclosed. In some examples, one or more OLEDs can be used to display one or more images on the device, can be configured to emit light for optical touch sensing, and/or can be configured to detect a reflection of the emitted light.
“The touch screen can include a spatial filter configured to focus light emitted from the OLEDs and/or reflected light detected by the OLEDs for improved optical touch sensing. Using optical touch sensors, the touch screen can be capable of discerning between water and an object (e.g., finger) and/or noise (e.g., ambient light) and an object. The touch screen can also be capable of identifying (e.g., authenticating) a user using the active area of the device.”