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AuthenTec sells encryption business, suggesting Apple's interest lies in fingerprint sensors

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
With Apple rumored to be attempting to acquire a security solutions provider, a new move by AuthenTec to sell a portion of its business suggests Apple is most interested in its fingerprint scanning technology.

AuthenTec has reached a deal to sell its embedded security solutions division to another company, Inside Secure, NFC World reported on Monday. The deal means that AuthenTec has retained ownership of its combined fingerprint and wireless near-field communication solution, which is part of a separate division.

The decision to sell the embedded security division may hint at why Apple has allegedly pursued a deal with the company. Reports first surfaced in July that Apple was looking to buy AuthenTec for $356 million.

It is now believed that AuthenTec may be looking to shed the extraneous parts of its business that Apple is not interested in acquiring. AuthenTec still owns its fingerprint sensor and NFC technology, which could hint that it will appear in future Apple products.

AuthenTec


The value of AuthenTec's embedded security division is valued at up to $48 million. Inside Secure is committed to pay $38 million in cash at closing, plus up to an additional $10 million in the future.

Though Apple hasn't officially confirmed its talks with AuthenTec, the security company notified customers in September that it would no longer be offering its security technology starting next year. Its clients included Samsung, HP, Dell, Lenovo, and Fujitsu.

A filing with the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission in August hinted that an advanced piece of hardware dubbed the "Smart Sensor" was key to Apple's acquisition. The sophisticated component goes further than simple fingerprint scanning by acting as a full-fledged touch pad controller, allowing UI navigation with one finger.

The sensor is also capable of identifying different fingers which can be associated with certain tasks, like opening the phone app with a thumb or sending an email with a forefinger. One of the first companies to use the specialized part was Fujitsu with its Regza smartphone.
post #2 of 17
Ah, so it's less about security and more about telling which finger is which. That is a logical incremental advance in touch screen tech.
post #3 of 17
Originally Posted by ascii View Post
Ah, so it's less about security and more about telling which finger is which.

 

This has some serious potential.


 That is a logical incremental advance in touch screen tech.

 

"Pshh. We're not copying Apple when we distinguish touch inputs, it was just a logical, incremental progression of what was…" lol.gif

Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
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Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
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post #4 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

Ah, so it's less about security and more about telling which finger is which. That is a logical incremental advance in touch screen tech.

Doubt that will happen, at least not with Authentec technology. It is more likely about fingerprint authentication and security.

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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post #5 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

Ah, so it's less about security and more about telling which finger is which. That is a logical incremental advance in touch screen tech.

I've never thought Apple was interested in using this tech for security. It's just too insecure. All applications should be be to add utility to a device. I've even thought of a remote control for an Apple HDTV/digibox that will sense whose hand is in control of the remote, send a single to the TV/digibox that will then tailor the UI based on that user's preferences and habits without the user first toggling between settings. This could also be used for making an iPad work for multiple people.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #6 of 17
Best news I have heard in a while if Apple is able to tap into the tech.
post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

 This could also be used for making an iPad work for multiple people.

I think the iPad mini is Apples solution to multiple user accounts. Everybody gets their own device instead of having to share.

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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post #8 of 17
I bet one of the most popular gestures will be to kiss your screen.

[remember Vivid Entertainment]

Let's not go there...
post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

I think the iPad mini is Apples solution to multiple user accounts. Everybody gets their own device instead of having to share.

I bought an LTE mini and an LTE Retina. After trying both out, I returned the Retina and got another Wifi mini instead.

Bought a Verizon data plan that allows me to tether. Use VoIP services to route my phone number to the mini, and make free calls now. I think Apple should kill the iPod line and make a iPad nano instead.
post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

I think the iPad mini is Apples solution to multiple user accounts. Everybody gets their own device instead of having to share.

For the hime maybe but for education and certain types of business could have specific users. They technically can now but it requires an app to be written for it and then using iOS 6's Guided Access feature to lock the device to that app.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #11 of 17
I was a little disappointed when Apple didn't put NFC in the iPhone 5.   Since then, I've used Pay with Square, iTunes (in the Apple store) and Paypal Here, using only my mobile # and pin #.  And it made me realize something - NFC isn't really that awesome if you think about it.  The technology is evolving ahead of NFC already.
 
Granted, there are other things NFC can be used for.  
 
TL;DR -- I agree with the others, this seems less about security and more about screen tech.
post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by allenbf View Post

I was a little disappointed when Apple didn't put NFC in the iPhone 5.   Since then, I've used Pay with Square, iTunes (in the Apple store) and Paypal Here, using only my mobile # and pin #.  And it made me realize something - NFC isn't really that awesome if you think about it.  The technology is evolving ahead of NFC already.
 
Granted, there are other things NFC can be used for.  
 
TL;DR -- I agree with the others, this seems less about security and more about screen tech.

I don't understand why anyone would want NFC.

I mean, do you really want to make it easier for someone to steal your money without even having to swipe your card? That's really what NFC is, a wireless gateway to your wallet. Think of the potential - hundreds of victims, all easy targets just by walking by with a high-powered NFC reader.

And even if it's not set up as a direct path to your bank account, it's still going to be a great way to track you. Stores will love it, all you have to do to track shoppers is read their NFC enabled phones or cards at various points in the store. They'll be able to see what you're shopping for, where in the store you stop, and who you are. Do you really want your wife to see the ads you get in the mail for condoms because they happen to be beside the toothpaste? Or hey, if you really are having an affair, the PI no longer has to track you (or even wait to get hired), he can just set up a reader near the local no-tell motel and market the info to your wife - or your boss.
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkVader View Post

I don't understand why anyone would want NFC.
I mean, do you really want to make it easier for someone to steal your money without even having to swipe your card? That's really what NFC is, a wireless gateway to your wallet. Think of the potential - hundreds of victims, all easy targets just by walking by with a high-powered NFC reader.

Um... no. That's not how NFC works.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #14 of 17

If Apple is after the company & their technology, I suppose it is one way of giving Samsung, & the rest of the Android set, the finger. lol.gif

 

Apple to the rest: OK, NOW try copying us & our IP.

post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I've never thought Apple was interested in using this tech for security. It's just too insecure. 

You should look more closely at this specific technology, it's a lot more secure then you may think.

 

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

 I've even thought of a remote control for an Apple HDTV/digibox that will sense whose hand is in control of the remote, send a single to the TV/digibox that will then tailor the UI based on that user's preferences and habits without the user first toggling between settings. This could also be used for making an iPad work for multiple people.
 

With Apple's face recognition software and a front-facing camera, the iDevice could know if a user has changed and recognize who it may be.

"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Macky the Macky View Post

You should look more closely at this specific technology, it's a lot more secure then you may think.

No biometric is as secure as something you can hold in your memory.

Quote:
With Apple's face recognition software and a front-facing camera, the iDevice could know if a user has changed and recognize who it may be.

That could work but it will still need to know when it's been picked up to initiate the camera.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #17 of 17
I think future iphones will allow you to set up your own fingerprint authorization right on the phone so that you can then authorize each mobile payment simply and securely.
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