10 September, 2013
Apple latest iteration of the iPhone will officially include a fingerprint sensor. The new technology, dubbed Touch ID, incorporates a fingerprint sensor in the form of a ring around the device’s iconic home button. According to Apple’s official website the sensor will be used to, among other things, unlock the device.
Rather than using the previous security measure of inputting a numerical PIN, the new iPhone 5S enables users to simply place their finger on the home button to wake the device. In addition to activating the device, the fingerprint sensor will also be used to approve purchases on the iTunes, App and iBooks Stores, eliminating the need for a password.
According to the newly revamped Apple site, Touch ID supports 360-degree fingerprint readability, meaning the orientation of the applied fingerprint, the iPhone 5S will read the print and verify the user’s identity. Moreover, Touch ID allows the iPhone’s owner to enroll multiple fingerprints, enabling the enrollment of other, trusted individuals.
The fingerprint template is store on a secure element on the iPhone and never leaves the device. It’s also likely the fingerprint scanner is optional and that users can opt for a PIN or nothing if they so choose.
The new Touch ID utility is almost certainly the work of Apple’s acquisition of fingerprint sensor specialist AuthenTec last year — one of Apple’s most expensive acquisitions to date. Accompanying the launch of the iPhone 5S will be an entirely new device, the budget-friendly iPhone 5C — a device that at present appears not support Touch ID.
To see the new Touch ID technology in action, see Apple’s video here.