July 28, 2012: Apple buys biometrics company AuthenTec, acquiring the technology that will power future authentication and secure payments initiatives.
With a price tag of $356 million, the deal gives Apple the right to use AuthenTec hardware, software and patents. In the short term, Apple engineers start working to build Touch ID sensors into the iPhone 5s. Longer-term, AuthenTec’s mobile wallet tech paves the way for Apple Pay.
We have heard a lot of rumors and leaks over the last year that Apple would install a fingerprint sensor underneath the home button of the iPhone 5S this year, but what does the leaked hardware actually say?
Earlier this week, a number of images were posted showing the part for a new iPhone 5S home button and associated flex cable… and it was radically different than previous home button configurations.
But does it confirm the iPhone 5S has a fingerprint sensor? iFixIt CEO Kyle Wiens sure thinks so.
Looks like iOS 7 Beta 4 just conclusively outed the fact that Apple is planning on putting a fingerprint sensor underneath the home button of the iPhone 5S: strings found in iOS 7 Beta 4’s BiometricKitUI.axbundle make reference to an iOS 7 tutorial which will reference a “photo of a person holding an iPhone with their right hand while touching the Home button with their thumb” and “a fingerprint that changes colour during the setup process.”
When a user of an iPhone 5S is setting up their iPhone to recognize their fingerprint, they will get a message saying that “Recogition is X% complete”, where X% is presumably a progress bar filling in.
Hamza Sood has found a lot of hidden iOS settings in the past, so he’s got a good track record. This looks pretty legit, and we all knew Apple acquired Authentec for a reason, and that fingerprint sensors were coming to iOS devices. This is our first peek, though, at how they will be realized, with typical Apple simplicity.
Here’s an interesting patent. While hype and rumor has suggested that when Apple introduces a fingerprint sensor in the iPhone 5S, it’ll be placed under the home button, Apple’s actually patented something much different: technology that would allow an iPhone to detect your fingerprint just by pressing your finger against the screen.
This makes a lot of sense. Not only is it a more elegant place to put a fingerprint sensor — and Apple loves elegance — but it explains the redesigned iOS 7 lock screen, and the way ‘Slide to Unlock’ has been de-emphasized. We’ll see!
The iPhone 5S could come with a sapphire crystal capacitive touch home button that incorporates a new fingerprint sensor, according to supply chain sources in Taiwan.
Apple is expected to do away with the traditional physical home button, which has long been one of the most unreliable components on iOS devices. It’s thought that using sapphire crystal, which has a hardness second only to diamond, will prevent the button from getting scratched and ruining the fingerprint sensor.
We’re living in a particularly insecure digital age right now. It seems like every other day, a major internet company is getting hacked, or having its database of user passwords liberated by groups of hackers.
It’s pretty obvious at this point that we need something better than passwords to secure us from increasingly sophisticated hackers and data thieves. Many sites are rolling out 2-Step authentication — access the site on a new computer, and you have to enter a code sent to you by text message — but that implementation can be a pain. There’s got to be an easier way.
Michael Barrett, PayPal’s chief information security officer, thinks there’s a better way. It’s called the iPhone 5S.
What would make the next iPhone truly exciting? That’s what people are wondering. A lighter body, better camera, and iOS 7 probably won’t cut it for most. How will Apple deliver the pizazz we’ve all grown accustomed to?
Software is always evolving, and Apple has arguably the best software experience out there for mobile devices, period. But unfortunately software by itself isn’t that exciting. You need new hardware. Now it looks like Apple is working on some interesting fingerprint sensor-related hardware off the coast of Florida.
Those analysts are some crazy cats. When you’re having a drab day, you can always count on one of them to pull something spectacular out of the bag. Jefferies analyst Peter Misek has done exactly that today when he unveiled his predictions for Apple’s iPhone 5S.
The handset will arrive in June, Misek believes, just nine months after the iPhone 5 made its debut, and it’ll boast NFC connectivity and a “super HD” camera. It’ll also come in 6-8 colors, apparently.
I laughed at Misek’s predictions when I first read them, but could he be right?
It looks like Apple is really interested in doing something involving biosecurity in the future. A few months ago Apple acquired fingerprint sensor maker AuthenTec, and now they just signed a deal with an Australian company that specializes in fingerprint and biometric security that is processed via NFC.
When Apple purchased AuthenTec back in July for $356 million, the news was a surprise to us all. Unlike most of the company’s movements, this one hadn’t been surrounded by rumor and speculation for months prior to the official announcement, and none of us saw it coming. But now it’s time to take note, because the acquisition could spell exciting things for future iOS devices.
You see, Apple acquired AuthenTec for its 2D fingerprint scanners, which it insisted it needed urgently due to its “product plans and ongoing engineering efforts.” This suggests the Cupertino company is ready to use the technology sooner rather than later — fueling speculation that it will make its debut in the sixth-generation iPhone as the perfect accompaniment to Passbook.
Whenever Apple moves to purchase a company, you know they’ve got something up their sleeves, and it’s not hard to imagine the possibilities of their latest acquisition: maker of fingerprint sensor chips, AuthenTec.