Apple may be incorporating its 3D Touch feature within its home button for future iPhones according to a patent filed by the company back in 2013. This application was passed this week and could signal big changes for the handset series.
Apple calls the technology a force-sensitive fingerprint sensing input. It basically adds an extra layer beneath the Touch ID sensor to measure distance and perform different tasks based on pressure. For instance, a user could unlock their iPhone by brushing their finger lightly against the home button and open an app by pressing more deeply.
Apple Insider further posits a scenario where unique pressure levels could enable a consumer to instantly view a message, go through a list of pre-written text and choose a reply. This new information may even indicate a home button-less iPhone. Instead of a physical unit, the company could just incorporate a flat surface with enhanced sensitivity for 3D Touch and Touch ID.
This patent specifically talks about a button module, though, so this may be a long way off. It’s conceivable that the new technology might make an appearance in the iPhone 7, given the 3 years Apple’s had to work on it or even move beyond it. The application also hints at fitting future Apple products in its lineup with the ability.
Keep in mind Apple has a history of claiming patents which it never uses and there’s no other evidence which shows that it’s thinking of blending Touch ID and 3D Touch for any of its offerings. We’ll keep you updated if any further confirmation of the feature pops up in the near future.