New patent shows Apple may combine fingerprint scanner with NFC

Apple may have some use for near field communications (NFC) after all. A new patent application flagged by Patently Apple shows that Apple has at least toyed around with embedding NFC capabilities into the fingerprint scanner on its upcoming iPhones and other devices. Patently Apple comments that this means “circuitry such as filter or switching circuitry may be used to couple both the near field communications circuitry and the sensor circuitry to a common conductive structure,” which ”allows the conductive structure to be shared between sensor functions such as fingerprint or touch sensor functions and near field communications functions.” Apple has largely been dismissive about NFC’s potential in the past, so it will be interesting to see if the company comes up with any unique uses for the technology if it includes it in the iPhone 5S.

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