As is often the case, the patent is expressed in extremely broad terms, referring to a “sensor configured to detect a biometric characteristic of a user” and mentioning everything from iris detection to voice sensing, but a fingerprint is included and appears to be what is shown in the main drawing.
Apple suggests that biometric authorization could be used both for things like selecting an individual’s preferred channels on a TV, and for home automation applications like changing a thermostat temperature or opening a garage door.
As ever, the fact that Apple patents something is no indication that it will ever make it into a product.
Via Patently Apple
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