updated 02:54 pm EDT, Thu October 11, 2012
A newly-published patent application hints at what Apple might have in store for its upcoming fingerprint recognition technology. The proposed concept would hide a fingerprint scanner -- or another form of biometric sensor -- in the screen or bezel of a device, only revealing it when necessary by changing the opacity of a window. Apple suggests that it could be used in securing e-commerce/e-wallet transactions, or for the more basic task of unlocking a device.
Apple's acquisition of AuthenTec combined with a deal with MicroLatch have revealed that Apple is planning on building fingerprint scanners into at least some of its products for the sake of NFC payments. While NFC has been an option on some phones for years, a fundamental issue has been security, since a stolen phone could potentially rack up large bills.
If used for unlocking, the technology could secure all of a device's contents while eliminating the hassle of entering a passcode everytime it's turned on. It would also improve the general level of security, since it would be impossible to use guesswork.