iPhones are one of the most easily smudged gadgets in the world, with a few weeks of light use garnering a ton of fingerprint marks on the front screen. Even though a good wipe with cloth normally does the trick, we have gotten to the stage where even that is a chore.
Apple is thankfully looking out for those too lazy to wipe down their own phone, by adding a smudge detection sensor underneath the display. It will react when the proximity sensor starts but the user hasn’t touched the display, and send an alert to the user about the smudge.
The patent filed earlier this month shows the sensor noticing a smudge from the proximity sensor. We assume Apple doesn’t have any plans to auto-remove the smudge, meaning you will still have to wipe it off yourself.
The error Apple is looking to rectify is when the proximity sensor turns off the screen when you start a call. It uses light to understand when the user holds the phone to their ear, but can sometimes get confused when smudges are all over the iPhone.
This may affect each iPhone user once in a lifetime, but it is enough to make Apple patent a fix. When that fix will reach the iPhone, we are still unsure. We doubt it will made available on the iPhone 6S, since it is already in production.
Apple has a tendency to work on small hardware updates to fix extremely small problems, but all too often the bigger issues like the antenna on the iPhone 4 slip through the cracks.