Over the last couple of months there have been rumors of a fingerprint scanner being included in the coming model iPhone 5S(or whatever the name will be). These speculations seem to have some merit thanks to Apple’s acquisition of AuthenTec, an embedded security company that specializes in fingerprint scanning.
If these rumors are correct it could be a game changer in the world of mobile security. Last month we covered a story about law enforcement and their call for a ‘kill switch’ that would render stolen phones unusable. This may be an alternative security measure that helps to secure data located on mobile devices.
For awhile, fingerprint “smart sensors” have been the Holy Grail of the technology world. Companies from Samsung to Motorola have been trying to integrate this verification process into their products, but it hasn’t panned out. This is mostly due to the way the sensor reads on different displays.
If the screen it reads on isn’t durable enough to get a clear reading on the bifurcation and ridge endings of your fingerprint over time, it has a limited purpose. The longer you used it, the more the screen would break down and the harder it would be for the sensor to pick up the print.
This brings up an interesting question when looking at the possibility of embedded sensors on the next iPhone: what will they use for a display? We have to assume past models have had the same problem as other companies. So what changes would they make to their screens to allow a proper fingerprint identification for an extended period?
Of course, this is all still just a rumor. No one knows if the next iPhone is going to have fingerprint reading capabilities. We don’t even know when the phone is going to be released, as we still have the iPhone 5S to wait for.
But it does get the imagination going, doesn’t it? A verification process, if they could work out the display kinks, could be a decent security measure. It won’t likely be enough to lessen iPhone thefts as it would only be a matter of time before criminals managed to get around it. That doesn’t mean it won’t be handy for locking down the device and protecting sensitive information on a more casual basis.
Plus, it will give Apple that boost they need to come up on top again as the most advanced mobile producers. That is one title they are losing quickly these days.
Source: Invasive Code