The product supercycle speculated by industry analysts seems to be already here as tech manufacturers regularly release new hardware. A few years ago, experts were talking about the possibility of Apple introducing new products more than once in a year and it already might be happening. Despite just recently releasing the Apple Watch Series 5, insiders are already hinting at a follow-up model being in the works. Perhaps the most notable feature of this new smartwatch is the inclusion of an in-display fingerprint sensor.

Gone are the days wherein people would view the Cupertino-based company as an innovator. These days, it appears that Android smartphones are the market leader when it comes to new features. Nevertheless, Apple is not out of the game just yet. The introduction of the Apple Watch Series 4 also brought with it a new function – a built-in electrocardiogram – which is reportedly the first of its kind. Now, it looks like the company's goal is to set another milestone with its next wearable.

In-display fingerprint sensor technology is already being used on smartphones from various brands. While other smart wearables form different manufacturers sport a fingerprint scanner, these are usually the traditional kind. Apple probably wants to be the first premium brand to integrate it under the screen. MSPoweruser points to a patent document filed by the tech firm in the second quarter of 2018.

According to the documentation, the illustration clearly notes that the display will support Touch ID authentication. For others, this might be an odd choice after the company has adopted Face ID technology for most of its mobile devices. On the other hand, the component that houses the cameras can present a problem for engineers when it comes to the form factor.

In addition to the in-display fingerprint scanner, the illustration indicates the presence of an antenna system within the watch band. This could be hinting at a new manufacturing process wherein the embedded component could flex, stretch and remain functional. If this turns out to be accurate, it could become problematic for third-party accessory companies to offer optional straps to customise the new Apple Watch. Last year, another report highlighted a patent filed by Samsung, which uses the same concept.

Apple Watch
Jeff Williams, Chief Operating Officer of Apple, speaks about the new Apple Watch Series 4 at an Apple Inc product launch event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California, U.S., September 12, 2018. Stephen Lam