Apple bids for AuthenTec: Imagine an iPhone with a fingerprint sensor

Motorola Atrix Fingerprint Sensor (Photo by ChesterTan)

Apple has put in a bid to buy AuthenTec, a mobile security company specializing in fingerprint recognition. Apple has offered $356 million for the company, though the merger still awaits final approval from AuthenTec and the US government, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission Filing (link via NYT).

So what does this mean? Assuming the purchase happens, Apple could gain an edge in security. AuthenTec makes software to help people manage their digital identities, security processors, VPN security, NFC products, and fingerprint sensors that are quite robust. On its website, AuthenTec claims that its fingerprint sensor can independently remember all five of your fingers and can act as a touchpad as well. For instance, if you swiped your ring finger across the pad, it could automatically launch eBay, or another app of your choice. 

Imagine if future iPhones and iPads had a round Home button with an embedded fingerprint sensor. It could be used to automatically launch an NFC Mobile Wallet app and as an added layer of authentication during any interaction. You would no longer need to unlock your phone. It could detect your thumb print and unlock for you. The sensor can also replace passwords for you. After all, a fingerprint is a better security measure than a password.

Future MacBooks could have this functionality built into their touchpads or somewhere nearby as well. If an Apple TV came out, this functionality could be integrated into the remote control, assuming there is one. 

The original Motorola Atrix had a fingerprint sensor built into it (shown above). Motorola didn’t take full advantage of its potential, but you could unlock the phone with it.

The great thing about Apple potentially implementing a fingerprint sensor like this is that if it integrates it into the iPhone and opens it up for developers, many of them will begin to write apps and games that utilize it in new ways, enabling a whole wave of new innovation. This is thanks to there being only one iPhone. Android developers, on the other hand, never supported the Fingerprint sensor on the Atrix (assuming they could) because the Atrix is only one phone of hundreds of new Android devices. 

(Image via Chestertan.com)

Wearables

Apple considers making its own health-monitoring processors

Apple could be looking at making its own dedicated health tracking processors. These chips are dedicated to health-monitoring features on wearables, and could mean more health tracking features on the next Apple Watch.
Wearables

Apple registers six models of Apple Watch Series 4 in European Union

Ready for an all new Apple Watch for 2018? It looks like Apple may be planning a complete redesign with improved health features. Here are all the details about the upcoming Apple Watch Series 4.
Mobile

Sixth public beta of iOS 12 still lacks one key feature

At this year's Worldwide Developer Conference, Apple unveiled its latest operating system, iOS 12. From app updates to group FaceTime, ARKit 2.0, and more, here are all the new features in iOS 12.
Computing

Apple AR glasses will launch in 2020, says respected industry analyst

Apple AR glasses may be closer to reality than we thought. Here is everything we know so far about the augmented reality system, including the rumored specifications of Apple's Project Mirrorshades.
Mobile

How to find a lost phone, whether it's Android, iPhone, or any other kind

Need to know how to find a lost phone? Here, we’ll help you locate your lost or stolen phone using both native and third-party apps and services, whether it’s a smartphone or an older variety.
Computing

These 30 apps are absolutely essential for Mac lovers

There are literally hundreds of thousands of great software programs compatible with MacOS, but which should you download? Look no further than our list of the best Mac apps you can find for the latest MacOS and how they can help out your…
Photography

How iPhone photographers connect the world using only ‘basic’ gear

August 19 is World Photography Day, marking progress from the daguerreotype to the iPhone. But how do today's photographers create a connection to viewers using basic gear? We talked to iPhone photographers and influencers around the world…
Computing

New Apple MacBook may appear in September at $1,200

Apple may reveal new products in September including an entry-level 13-inch MacBook based on Intel’s seventh-generation processors. Apple originally intended these units to rely on Intel’s now-delayed 10nm “Cannon Lake” processors.
Mobile

AirDrop makes sending files to Apple devices easy -- here's how

Want to send files or photos to your friends when you're standing directly beside them? Instead of texting or emailing, why not learn how to use AirDrop? Here's everything you need to know about using AirDrop on both iOS and MacOS.
Deals

Save up to $900 with the best smartphone deals for August 2018

Need a better phone but don't want to spend a fortune? It's never a bad time to score a new smartphone and save some cash. We rounded up the best smartphone deals available that can save you as much as $900.
Computing

Style up your MacBook Air with one of these great cases or sleeves

Whether you’re looking for added protection or a stylish flourish, you’re in the right place for the best MacBook Air cases. We have form-hugging cases, luxurious covers and padded sleeves priced from $7 to $130. Happy shopping!
Apple

New patent suggests multiuser support could one day come to Siri

A new patent suggests that a major improvement may be in the works for Apple's digital assistant. Nothing has been confirmed, but Apple may soon work on implementing multiuser support for Siri.
Mobile

iPad battery explosion prompts Apple Store evacuation in Amsterdam

An iPad battery exploded in an Apple Store over the weekend, causing breathing issues for staff members, and requiring the fire brigade and an ambulance to attend. The incident took place in Amsterdam.
Mobile

Free yourself! How to unlock a phone from the icy hands of your wireless carrier

Do you want to know how to unlock a phone through your carrier or a third-party service like DoctorSIM? Regardless of which way you want to go, we've compiled a list of requirements and methods for doing so.