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Apple to bulk up on security with help from fingerprint patent

Apples iOS-based devices maybe even mac computers could eventually come with support for a fingerprint sensor directly on the display.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday published a patent application Apple filed with its offices on January 27. The patent describes a technology in which a sensor is used to trace a users finger and determine, based on that, if they have the proper credentials to access the computer. Apple’s patent application doesn’t go as far as including the security features that might come with it, but it’s clear what the technology is designed to do.

Bio-metric technology has been in place for years on devices. Many enterprise computers come with a fingerprint sensor that allows users to access their computers and certain protected files. If a persons fingerprint doesn’t match up with what has been stored on the PC, they cannot gain access to the device.

Apples technology is slightly different than those features. Rather than use an attached hardware sensor, like most PC’s do apple’s patent allows users to place their fingers on a touch display. The company’s technology than analyzes the finger on a pixel-by-pixel basis to determine if it’s a match with the original user.

Apple’s patent application is just the latest in a long line of fingerprint-sensing technology the company has brought to the USPTO. So far, however, none of those technologies have made their way to the iPhone or iPad. As with other companies, Apple often files for patents on technologies that never see the light of day. It’s possible this one may join that group.