Monday, September 10, 2012

Will the iPhone 5 come with a fingerprint scanner? Apple makes rare takeover bid of security firm for £230m

Apple is in the final stages of purchasing a fingerprint security firm - meaning future iPhones are likely to have an extra layer of built-in security.
There are even suggestions that the new iPhone - due to be unveiled on Wednesday - will already have a fingerprint scanner built in, stopping anyone from reading your messages and data without your fingerprint authorisation.
If AuthenTec agrees to the $365m (£228m) purchase by Apple on October 4, it will be one of the largest sums paid in a takeover by the tech giant.
Other than the purchase of a 'flash memory' supplier last year, this is believed to be Apple's biggest acquisition since the pre-iPod days of 1997, showing how serious Apple is about the technology.
AuthentTec creates mobile phone security and, according to the merger documents, has already been developing 2D fingerprint sensors for Apple.
The technology could see a fingerprint scanner built behind the screen, requiring your thumbprint to unlock the phone, or it could be a sensor on the back of the device, across which you roll your thumb to allow access.
Technology writer Matt Brian, for the site My Next Web, said: 'Will we see fingerprint technology in the new iPhone, or iPad? It seems almost certain.
'Details are scarce but [Apple's] desire to use the technology and see it developed quickly leads us to speculate that we could see it in just a matter of weeks.'
If Apple comes with NFC, which allows contactless authorisation or payments, it could make the iPhone a wallet-replacements, allowing secure payments for small orders.
Apple is also unveiling a new service called PassBook, which allows users to store shop coupons, loyalty cards and other items such as airport boarding passes, with the release of iOS6 - the sixth-generation of its iPhone software - this autumn.
Airlines in the U.S., such as United Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Virgin Australia will all allow Apple users to store their documents on their phone, meaning a quick swipe will get you to the boarding gates.

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