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AuthenTec And Apple: Will The Fingerprint Sensor Technology Come To iPhone 5?

As we previously reported, Apple broke the news by acquiring AuthenTec on July 27. But why does this deal affect Apple’s upcoming products such as the iPhone 5 or iPad mini? Read on to find out why, and how.

Authentec mobile security
AuthenTec counts big names among its clients—Alcatel-Lucent, Fujitsu, HBO, Lenovo, Cisco, LG, Orange, Motorola, Samsung and Texas Instruments—as it provides mobile and network security technologies. It developed the world’s first fingerprint sensor designed specifically for mobile wallets, combining strong fingerprint security and encryption in a narrow and durable package.

One of its products, the AES2750, includes a wide, 192-pixel-by-8-pixel fingerprint sensor array with features such as hybrid fingerprint matching and encryption for an inexpensive integration. It also features multiple touch and personalization options, such as locking and unlocking a phone, protecting sensitive information, authorizing NFC and mobile banking transactions, which replace mobile website usernames and passwords.

What does this mean to the iPhone 5 or iPad mini? Well, this could be one of the key features of these upcoming devices. Apple is known to be working to enable the iPhone as your iWallet. Its Passbook application is the first step in this direction, but currently it means you can forget about carrying plastics in your pocket, except your credit or debit card: coupons, tickets and loyalty cards.

However, this also means—as I pointed out while looking into a recently granted shopping-related Apple patent—that the stage is set for the iPhone to become your digital wallet. The structure the company developed for Passbook requires no (or minimal) modification to enable payment processing. However, as you may have already guessed, security was the only roadblock in front of Apple. As iWallet patents show, Apple doesn’t want the Google Wallet-like issues to happen to its iPhone userbase, because it wants your money to be safe with your iDevice.

Now, considering how the relationship between Apple and AuthenTec evolved and how rapidly Apple decided to acquire the company instead of licensing its technology, we can say almost for sure the iPhone 5 and the iPad mini will feature the mobile security company’s technology. In other words, we bet on an NFC-capable iPhone 5 and iPad mini. [Image courtesy of Forbes]

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