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Apple contemplating biometric locks for iPhone?

updated 12:20 pm EDT, Fri March 27, 2009

Biometric iPhone security?

Apple may be considering integrating some form of biometric security for iPhones, as well as Macs, a newly-published patent application hints. While iPhones and Macs can currently be locked with passcodes and passwords in turn, the patent filing suggests that a more secure option is desirable. Biometrics are the leading candidate, and could potentially come in the form of a fingerprint or finger vein scanner slipped underneath a touchscreen, capable of unlocking a phone in a single step.

An alternate option could be the inclusion of a forward-mounted camera, which would recognize faces or retinal patterns. Such a camera might theoretically render a phone useless in low-light situations, but could also be used for video calls if supported by carriers. The presence of 7.2Mbps broadband would make the technology more feasible. Macs could duplicate some or all of these security features via integration with trackpads, palmrests and/or webcams; also mentioned is the possibility of voice or even DNA recognition, though the latter is likely unfeasible for a phone or notebook.

Outside of biometrics, Apple proposes using patterned icons on a touchscreen, which could be tapped in a particular sequence or matched in terms of color or shape. Both sets of inventions are credited to Tony Fadell, who helped create the iPod but has since left Apple and been replaced by Mark Papermaster. The application paperwork dates back to September 2008.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. Bobfozz

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    Another Reason Apple

    leads all the others. There is no innovation at the other companies. They wait until Apple does something and then try to figure a way to copy it without patent infringement. None of the Apple competitors of iPhone gave the touchscreen a chance and now they are falling in line right and left. If you are after marketshare, that's not the way to do it. Once you believe ALL the good ideas are already out there, Apple comes up with another one, and another one...

  1. lamewing

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    No always

    No innovation at other companies? Try telling that to someone who uses a tablet PC using Windows handwriting recognition versus the handwriting "recognition" in OSX. Nothing has been done at Apple in this area, while MS has improved it with each iteration of Windows...first XP, then Vista and now Windows 7.

    While I love OSX and have been using Apple computers since my first Apple IIc, I use a thinkpad X61 tablet for my day-to-day work.

    IF Apple would step up to the plate and provide such support in OSX and a tablet hardware release (needs stylus support - and multitouch would be nice!)I would sell the thinkpad and upgrade. Truth be told, I don't expect that to happen because Jobs has something against handwriting input on computers and he doesn't like tablets either.

  1. DeezNutts

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -3

    re: Another Reason


    Sure because I haven't been logging into Windows on my thinkpad using the built-in finger print reader for oh, a few years now.

    Just because Apple has not done biometrics yet, does not mean that it does not exist.

  1. DeezNutts

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -3

    re: Another Reason


    Sure because I haven't been logging into Windows on my thinkpad using the built-in finger print reader for oh, a few years now.

    Just because Apple has not done biometrics yet, does not mean that it does not exist.

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