The patent describes a type of hardware window that can become selectively "transparent or opaque," to reveal an "image capture device, a strobe flash, a biometric sensor, a light sensor, a proximity sensor, or a solar panel" as a method of unlocking the handset, according to reports.
Upon activation in a locked state, a user may be requested to slide or merely place a finger across the iPhone's screen to unlock it.
It comes just months after the firm purchased mobile security firm AuthenTec, which holds close to 200 patents covering fingerprint and sensor technologies. Many experts claim the takeover confirms Apple's interests in introducing biometric technologies to its consumer products.
Words: Bertan Budak