Apple was awarded a series of patents relating to bringing Touch ID to Apple Watch, with the fingerprint sensor allowing users to unlock their Apple Watch, authorize Apple Pay transactions, and offer a higher level of security.
Spotted by Patently Apple, the biometric sensing system would be in the form of a side Touch ID button. This is similar to the side button already found on the Apple Watch, albeit with the capabilities of the fingerprint sensor on the iPad Air (2020). While the Cupertino tech giant continues to put focus on Face ID on products like the iPhone 13 and iPad Pro, Touch ID is still a sought-after feature. On an Apple Watch, it makes a lot of sense.
As the report suggests, there are a number of ways biometric identification could come in handy on Apple's popular smartwatch. For one, it could make unlocking a user's Apple Watch much easier compared to punching in a passcode. It will also make unlocking your iPhone or unlocking your MacBook with an Apple Watch a much easier task.
While Apple Watch lets you pay for items via Apple Pay, the only thing standing in the way of making a successful transaction is a passcode, which users only input when they take their Apple Watch off and put it back on. Passcodes provide a level of security, but can be annoying and easily bypassed if stolen.
Plus, some payment terminals (like Transport for London) allow for Express Mode, meaning users can simply tap their Apple Watch. Having Touch ID to authenticate a user's identity and authorize payments will increase the wearable's protection against threats, all while keeping it easy to access.
Patents are never a sure thing, as they are generally just ideas companies could use in future products. Sometimes they never see the light of day, but they offer an idea of what a brand could be coming up with next. Touch ID on Apple Watch makes sense, but it could mean increasing the size and thickness of the smartwatch, which Apple may not want. That said, it is expected to introduce a new rugged model for "Extreme Sports" later this year, and it's tipped to boast a 2-inch display size.
Whatever the case, if you're on the hunt for one, check out which Apple Watch is best for you.