Previous leaked buttons lacked major changes
A newly-leaked iPhone 5S home button may support the idea that the device will get a built-in fingerprint sensor, according to a French report. Alleged 5S buttons have leaked in the past, but appeared little different from those for the iPhone 5. The new part -- marked as having gone into production in mid-July -- sports a radically different layout, including a prominent square section in its flex cable.
Code string hints at sensor embedded into Home button
Code buried in iOS 7 beta 4 suggests that one or more next-generation iOS devices will indeed have fingerprint sensors, notes AppleInsider. An unused folder in the firmware, discovered by Hamza Sood, is titled "BiometricKitUI.axb." Accompanying code strings moreover make reference to a "Photo of a person holding an iPhone with their right hand while touching the Home button with their thumb," a percentage completion meter for fingerprint recognition, and "a fingerprint that changes colour [sic] during the setup process."
Thought to be long-rumored iWatch
Apple has started assembling a team of people specializing in fitness, medical sensors, manufacturing, and hardware and software engineering in order to produce a fitness-focused wearable computer chock full of sensor technology, sources say. Apple is stated to have experimented with a number of designs in the past, including ones that could clip onto clothing, like an iPod shuffle. Currently though the company is thought to have returned to a wrist-wrapped device, likely the iWatch.
Mass production of two parts may only start at end of July
Manufacturing problems are affecting the amount of iPhones Apple will have in time for September's iPhone 5S launch, sources tell DigiTimes. Suppliers are reportedly getting poor yields of fingerprint recognition chips and integrated circuits for LCD drivers. Mass production of both parts was supposed to have started at the end of June or in early July, but is now believed to have been pushed to the end of July, mirroring claims by Jefferies & Co. analyst Peter Misek. If accurate, the sources' claims could be the first confirmation that the 5S uses fingerprint recognition.
Would perform the same as current mechanical button, report says
Rumors that Apple was going to incorporate a fingerprint sensor in the home button of the next iPhone still have no evidence to support them behind Apple's acquisition of Authentec in 2012. A new rumor has thus appeared, saying that Apple plans to do away with the physical push-style home button entirely in the next iPhone release, replacing it with a capacitive touch area that would perform the same functions. The new "button" will be covered in sapphire glass to prevent scratches.
Device originally expect to start production in June
Production of a next-generation iPhone -- commonly labeled the iPhone 5S -- may be delayed, Reuters says. Japanese and Taiwanese supplier sources tell the news agency that 5S production was originally expected to start in June, but that Apple may be encountering manufacturing issues. In particular, one source says that Apple is building a fingerprint sensor into the phone, but having trouble finding a coating material that doesn't interfere. The company is known to be working on fingerprint technology, and some past reports have hinted that the 5S could mark its debut.
Company making unusual Florida hires
A new Apple job listing may hint at some of the company's plans for fingerprint technology, notes AppleInsider. The company is currently searching for a software engineer, to be based in Melbourne, Florida. The successful hire will be required to work on software related to integrated circuit design, including LabTool, an app used at Apple's "Melbourne Design Center."
Would presumably use tech acquired from AuthenTec
The iPhone 5S will implement both NFC and a fingerprint sensor, the China Times alleges. A Taiwanese company, Chipbond, will reportedly provide touch display drivers and some other necessary parts. The fingerprint system is expected to operate in service of the NFC, providing extra security for mobile payments. It should also be based on development work by AuthenTec, a company Apple bought out last summer explicitly for its fingerprint technology.
Company likely ditching parts unwanted by Apple
AuthenTec is selling off its embedded security solutions division to another firm, Inside Secure, says NFC World. The reason for the move hasn't been disclosed. AuthenTec was bought out by Apple earlier this year, however, and the latter is likely trying to get rid of unwanted parts of AuthenTec that use technology it doesn't need, or have clients it doesn't intend to support. In September, a Korean report claimed that AuthenTec will cut off all non-Apple customers in 2013.
Apple-owned Authentec's software at fault, exploit available
Several PC security firms have independently verified a weakness in Authentek's UPEK Protector Suite that allows hostile users with physical control of a machine to rapidly recover Windows account passwords. The software is pre-installed in Windows-based PCs by makers including Dell, Gateway, NEC, Samsung, Sony, and Toshiba. An open-source exploit of the flaw has been released by a pair of security researchers so that paid intrusion testers can exploit the weakness.
Samsung, HP, Lenovo among affected parties
Fingerprint technology company AuthenTec will be cutting off all of its non-Apple customers starting in 2013, a Korean report says. This includes companies like Samsung, HP, Dell, Lenovo, and Fujitsu. Apple bought out AuthenTec in July, and as is normally the case for the company, the acquisition appears to have been solely to support its own products. AuthenTec clients are allegedly "in a state of panic" about the situation, since they now have to find alternate suppliers for fingerprint scanning.
Apple aiming after 'new technology' for products
A PREM14A proxy statement filing with the SEC has exposed some of the details of Apple's acquisition of AuthenTec in late July. Talks between the companies are said to have begun "late in 2011," after AuthenTec approached "several leading consumer electronics companies" about providing a new technology it had created. Apple was the only business to respond; AuthenTec suggests that the main reason was cost.
Could bolster security in iOS devices
Apple has signed a deal to buy a Florida-based company, AuthenTec, at a price of $8 per share or about $356 million, Reuters says. That's a premium of 58 percent over AuthenTec's Thursday closing value. While largely unknown to the public, the firm makes fingerprint sensor chips used in computers, and various other forms of security software and chips for cellphones; some of the company's clients include Dell, Fujitsu, Lenovo, and Samsung. Notably, the company also produces chips involved in near-field communication (NFC) technologies.
Fujitsu waterproof phone
Maker of fingerprint sensors, AuthenTec, announced on Sunday that Fujitsu has started shipping the F-01A handset, the world's first with IPX5 and IPX7 waterfproof specifications and a fingerprint scanner. The handset is being offered by Japan's NTT DoCoMo wireless provider, and can remain submerged under up to nearly 3.3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes. The phone is also the first to utilize AuthenTec's TouchStone packaging, which includes AuthenTec's TrueNav technology that lets the AES1711 fingerprint scanner double as a touchpad for navigating the phone's controls.
MEDION intros secure PNDs
MEDION on Monday announced it is introducing three new personal navigation devices that use a fingerprint scanner for security and theft-deterrence. MEDION enlisted the help of AuthenTec to integrate its fingerprint sensors into the devices, which include the GoPal P5235, GoPal P5435 and GoPal X5535. Users can save up to five fingerprints using the small AES1510 fingerprint sensor used in millions of cellphones, which then allows them to log in and use each device. The feature ensures only authorized users can access the three devices, which are useless if stolen.