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The next Apple Watch could add Touch ID to the display

Apple Watch 5
(Image credit: Future)
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By all accounts the Apple Watch is an impressive bit of kit, but Apple continues to look for ways to make it better – including, perhaps, adding Touch ID to the display in future versions of the wearable.

That's based on a new patent (opens in new tab) spotted by Patently Apple (opens in new tab) this week. In it, Apple suggests that "a touch sensing device, force sensing device, temperature sensing device, and/or a fingerprint sensor" could be put behind the screen.

While the Apple Watch can already be used to make Apple Pay purchases, unlock Macs and more, Touch ID would add an extra level of security to prove you really are who you say you are while you're wearing your Apple Watch.

And although Touch ID has disappeared from the latest iPhones, it's still very much present on the cheapest iPads and Apple's MacBook Pro laptops. There's even talk of the fingerprint-reading tech making a return to the iPhone line in the future.

Apple Watch patent

(Image credit: USPTO/Patently Apple)

The main focus of the new patent is actually the idea of moving the watch's wireless antennas to the strap, leaving more room for other components (and perhaps a bigger battery) under the screen.

Embedding Wi-Fi, cellular and Bluetooth antennas into the Apple Watch strap would be a tough challenge, considering how much bending and other wear and tear that these straps are put through.

It would also mean your choices would be limited when it came to replacing the default watch band with another. Still, Apple obviously thinks the concept is viable enough for it to file a patent about it.

As with every tech patent, this is no guarantee that these features will ever be introduced into an Apple Watch – but it does give us an idea of the sort of innovations Apple is thinking about for the future.

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.