Recent analyst forecasts have claimed that Apple is heading towards a major overhaul of the iPhone, with the 2017 model to bring a no-bezel design and an all-screen look, with the Touch ID, the FaceTime camera, and all the other front-facing parts integrated into the display.

And although Apple has remained completely tight-lipped on such plans, the company has indirectly hinted that an iPhone with no bezels is indeed part of its long-term vision for its product lineup.

A patent that Apple filed in March 2015 and published recently reveals that the company developed a way to integrate the Touch ID sensor into the display and thus pave the way for such a dramatic overhaul of the iPhone’s look.

It appears that Apple’s new tech is based on ultrasound imaging, which, according to the patent discovered by Patently Apple, offers not only the possibility of integrating the sensor right into the display but also better accuracy and faster scanning speed on the devices using it.

Patent documents have a detailed description for tech-savvy users:

“The most accurate but least common finger-scanning technology is ultrasound imaging. In this type of sensor, two transducers are placed on the x- and y-axes of a plate of glass–one each for receiving and transmitting–for propagating ultrasound waves through a glass plate; when the finger is placed on top of the glass, the finger impedes the waves and the receiving transducer can measure the alteration in wave patterns.”

2017 iPhone could feature such tech

Although the patent was filed in March 2015 and Apple would have enough time to bring it into production for the iPhone 7, seeing the no-bezel approach going live this year is very unlikely, and there are bigger chances for the 2017 model to come with it.

Previous reports indicated that the iPhone 7 is just a minor redesign of the iPhone 6s, so next year’s model is more likely to feature this long-awaited overhaul that was pretty much impossible until now because of Apple’s focus on the Touch ID sensor integrated into the home button.

Cupertino never seemed to be willing to give up on the home button, but the rest of the industry is growing at a fast pace these days, and other manufacturers keep innovating and improving the design of their phones, so Apple has no other solution than to turn to more dramatic changes on its iPhone.

Certainly, a future iPhone would at some point arrive with no screen bezels, and we can only hope that this happens rather sooner than later.

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