The iPad’s overhauled Touch ID button system may one day be applied to the future Apple Watch

When Apple first received a patent for Touch ID for the Apple Watch in 2017, it seemed odd to put it on a side button and not implement it below the display. Then Apple surprised us by taking their invention and applying the Touch ID button to the top of the iPad Air 2020. Technically, this made it patent compliant, but it wasn’t recognized as such because the focus device of the original patent was actually the Apple Watch. as noted in our cover graphic.

Apple noted that their invention could be applied to “computers, touch-sensitive devices, other wearable devices,” and more. Given that the Touch ID button works perfectly for the iPad, Apple could very easily apply it to the Apple Watch at some point in the future. Of course, Apple may decide to continue adding more health sensors in the limited internal space the watch provides before rolling out the Touch ID button.

Apple’s patent Fig. 1 below illustrates a view of one example Apple Watch with a biometric sensor system and a set of sidewall buttons; Fig. 4D is an exploded view of parts of an implementation of a biometric sensor system; Fig. 3C is another view of parts of the implementation of a biometric sensor system.

2 Apple Watch Touch ID button FIG.  1 and 4D

Apple’s patent Fig. 3C below depicts a flexible conduit assembly #340 mounted to the button housing #303. The flexible conduit may include an upper portion #339 that is connected to a sensor (not shown). A second or sealing portion #341 of the flexible conduit is connected to the first portion by a folded portion #343. The sealing portion may be generally flat and may interact with the seal to form a sealing region.

3 Touch ID button housing

Apple’s latest patent filing adds 20 new patent claims to advance and protect their invention from competitors and patent trolls. Of the 20 new patent claims, Apple adds 15 claims to a new aspect of the invention titled “The Input Module.” The first three new patent claims are as follows:

  • Input module for electronic device, wherein the input module includes: a housing defining a closed volume, an outer surface and an opening between the outer surface and the closed volume; hull shelf extending laterally into bore; a compressible layer located on the shell shelf; an input element positioned on the compressible layer, the compressible layer being compressible to allow displacement of the input element relative to the casing shelf.
  • 2. An input module according to claim 1, further comprising: a biometric sensor positioned within the input element and configured to produce an output signal in response to a touch on an input surface of the input element; processing device in electronic communication with the biometric sensor; a storage device in electronic communication with the processing device; a display providing an input surface; at least one touch sensor device configured to receive input by touching the input surface.
  • The input device according to claim 1, further including a biometric sensor located inside the input element and configured to produce an output signal in response to a touch on an input surface of the input element.

In the last listed new patent claim, Apple adds that this possible future Apple Watch stamp includes elastomeric material.

For more details and to view the remaining 16 new patent claims, view Apple’s patent application number 20220300041.

10.51XF - Patent Continuation Report Tape