Is finger scanning i5’s secret weapon?
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Apple’s latest purchase would suggest so.
The Cupertino giant recently finalised its acquisition of AuthenTec; a company specialising in encryption technology, fingerprint sensors, Near Field Communication and ‘smart sensors’ for mobiles, tabs and PC,
The takeover, if approved will cost Apple a cool $365 million – but it’ ll be worth it as it will give the next gen of Apple device new (and much needed) wow factor.
(4G LTE, bigger 4″ screen and new connectors are the other i5 rumours doing the rounds).
Apple always has a secret weapon factor with every launch, (iPhone 4S saw the birth of Siri, iPad had 4G (sort of)), so ‘iPhone 5’ could see the inception of finger recognition technology for Apple devices.
This would mean the new iPhone would be unlocked via fingerprint technology, making the need for a pin code redundant and run NFC technology, already tipped for i5.
It would also give the iPhone smart sensors and the ability to associate different functions with different fingers.
Even though the timeframe between the acquisition and launch of the iPhone tommorrow is tight, the encryption gurus have been creating 2D fingerprint sensors for Apple iPhone and iPad for some time, so very likely bound for iOS devices in the near future.
The new technology artillary would also allow the new iPhone to jump on the NFC bandwagon, which rival devices like HTC’s One X, Samsung’s Galaxy S III already have and would integrate well with Apple’s new Passbook app rollout on iOS 6, as noted by The Next Web.
Passbook is Apple’s answer to Google Wallet, which means you can store boarding cards, e-tickets, QR barcodes on your iPhone and validate them via a simple tap or swipe.
However, it doesn’t allow payments yet, unlike Google’s Wallet, but rumours are Passwook could be able to make payments in the not too distant future, especially with AuthenTec m-commerce tech on board.
There’s a local angle to this story – Virgin Australia has already confirmed it will be partnering with Apple’s Passbook for the iPhone, meaning boarding passes can be stored on the device.
An Aussie traveller on a recent Virgin flight from Adelaide to Sydney had an iPhone running a trial version of iOS 6, which detected the check-in and offered to save the information to her Passbook account.
American Airlines, United, Virgin and Delta are also preparing to jump on the Passbook bandwagon.
But here’s the best part, guess who are one of AuthenTec clients?
Apple arch enemy Samsung, no less, who uses the tech on its Galaxy S III and tabs (hmm wonder how that will work?) and also does business with other technology heavies like HP, Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, Fujitsu.
The Florida based company also makes enterprise security solutions for Android devices.
But its not just fingers and gestures that Apple’s latest buy would be handy for.
It would also give Cupertino a leg up in the M-commerce and enterprise fields. AuthenTec also developed a smart fingerprint sensor for mobile commerce to authenticate payments and improving security on web transactions.
The acquisition of AuthenTec may also be a shrewd move by Apple into the enterprise and Bring Your Own Device market.
The iPhone is notoriously lacking on security compared to the likes of BlackBerry, but AuthenTec has developed Mobile VPN and FIPS-certified cryptographic security allowing smartphones to “meet the stringent security requirements specified by the world’s largest wireless carriers.”
The AuthenTec board is set to vote on the takeover by Apple on October 4th next, while the next iPhone is due to be announced tommorrow, US time.