AuthenTec Sells Off Embedded Security Systems, Leaving FingerPrint Technology for Apple

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Nov 19, 2012.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    NFCWorld reports that AuthenTec has sold off its Embedded Security Solutions (ESS) division to a company called Inside Secure for $48 million, leaving Apple with its fingerprint sensors and identity management assets.
    TechCrunch suggests one of the reasons for the sell off of this non-core technology is to avoid any regulatory hurdles in the AuthenTec acquisition.
    Apple had been reported to have acquired AuthenTech back in July for $356 million. Speculation had already claimed that Apple was primarily interested in AuthenTec's fingerprint scanning technology for future devices. Several current customers of AuthenTec's fingerprint sensors were already been forced to quickly look for alternative suppliers.

    Article Link: AuthenTec Sells Off Embedded Security Systems, Leaving FingerPrint Technology for Apple
  2. macrumors 6502a

    A Hebrew

    Jan 7, 2012
    I wish apple would use fingerprint readers on their MBP.
  3. macrumors 6502a

    Mar 3, 2008
    United States
    Now is the technologies team using them or the hardware team using them?
  4. macrumors 65816


    Sep 20, 2008
    Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
    Two teams working together. ;)
  5. macrumors 6502a

    Mac Fly (film)

    Feb 12, 2006
    Read that as "Insecure".
  6. macrumors regular


    Mar 21, 2012
    Florida, USA
  7. macrumors member

    Feb 29, 2012
    I can't make my mind up as to whether this'd make it into the next iPhone iteration or not. Else it'll be more of an iPhone 6 than a 5S, which I'm all for. Finger crossed.

    Entering my passcode is getting tedious (first world problem).
  8. macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2008
    Feels like more of a 6 thing. So how would such an integration work? Will they be able to do something along the lines of making the home button a scanner? Or will they have to put a scanner completely elsewhere on the phone?
  9. macrumors regular

    Jun 27, 2008
  10. JAT
    macrumors 603

    Dec 31, 2001
    Mpls, MN
  11. macrumors member

    Sep 26, 2012
    I think that you are right. My thought is that Apple will roll out an NFC payment system that utilizes fingerprint recognition as part of its authentication process. Since this would be a major step-change in the iPhone's core abilities, it is more likely to be released on the iPhone 6. No matter what the phone is titled, I think that we have 1.5-2 years before we will see fingerprint tech (or NFC) in the iPhone.

    If I were the engineer in charge of integrating the fingerprinting tech into the iPhone, I would try very hard to embed the scanner into the glass itself. I would probably put the scanner just to the right of the home button. I would also make the scanner blend in with the black/white background (similar to the front-facing camera, except with tinted glass) so that it would not ruin the aesthetic experience of the phone.
  12. macrumors 65816

    Jun 6, 2006
    I believe Apple already showed how they're going to use this in one of their patent applications. They would have the sensor underneath the screen where the swipe normally occurs.

    I do think this is really cool, though I would prefer it be offscreen ( like on the button ) becuase having a discrete sensor that only works on one part of the screen goes against the philosophy Apple has about the screen being 100% reconfigurable. But I admit it's a cool enough feature that it may not be a big deal.
  13. macrumors 68000

    Aug 11, 2008
    The industry disrupting technology that AuthenTec brings to the table is fingerprint scanners built into the touchscreen.
    Not sure why Apply would want to keep legacy technology to being with.
  14. macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    San Jose (CA)
    I have missed the AuthenTec fingerprint reader on my ThinkPad and I hope Apple adds one to their Macs.
  15. macrumors Pentium


    Jan 28, 2009
    Quebec, Canada
    If this is anything like the Liquid Metal exclusivity license Apple acquired, it could very much be not about integrating it in its own products, but about locking its competition out of it.

    Other manufacturers had cellphones made with Liquid Metal parts before Apple swooped in, got exclusitivity from the people behind it and locked out everyone else. Then Apple made SIM ejection tools with it.
  16. HMI
    macrumors 6502a


    May 23, 2012
    Wow. Am I the only person that does not want my biometrics to be scanned or stored anywhere ever? This seems like it is heading down a road I don't want to travel.
  17. macrumors demi-god


    Jun 9, 2007
    Device engineer 30+ yrs, touchscreens 24+.
    Sometimes Apple reminds me of those seagulls in "Finding Nemo". They don't like to share anything.

    If it's just stored locally, it could be quite useful.

    Fingerprint scanners have been used on handhelds since before 2000.

    The first retina-screen smartphone (the 2007 Toshiba Portégé G900) had a fingerprint scanner which not only could be used to unlock the phone, but you could even set it up so that each finger launched a different application.

    Scanners can also be used to confirm the user when making electronic payments, picking up tickets, etc.
  18. macrumors 68040

    Feb 2, 2008
    They share quite a bit of the core technologies that they make.
  19. macrumors 603


    Aug 5, 2010
    That is more often when they want to push adoption of something. An example would be Apple wanted mini displayport to be implemented as much as possible, so it doesn't carry a licensing fee. It's a matter of whether adoption by others also benefits Apple. This isn't totally uncommon. Buying up exclusive licenses is silly though. There isn't any point beyond denying others the technology.
  20. macrumors Pentium


    Jan 28, 2009
    Quebec, Canada
    And sometimes, they just claim they will and never do. Like Facetime. And other times, it's because licensing of the copyrighted codebase they are using forces them to. Like Webkit.

    But the fact remains, Liquid Metal's license seems to be a move to lock out the competition from using it. Same as when they use their massive supply chains to simply lock out the competition from getting parts like NAND or Displays.

    Apple always does what benefits Apple. That shouldn't be a surprise, Apple isn't exactly out to make the world a better place, it's goal like any publicly traded company is simply profits.
  21. subsonix, Nov 19, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2012

    macrumors 68040

    Feb 2, 2008
    I was more thinking of software, but ok. I don't think it's quite as black and white as you paint it, presumably they buy companies to use the technology, that is true for most acquisitions I'm aware of. Some people always assume malice as the primary motivator, never any other reason, which I find ridiculous.

    And that doesn't make them different than other publicly traded company.

    And other times it isn't. Like libdispatch and launchd. And adding to open source project regardless of license should count as sharing no? Like financing developement, or working or participating in new standards. Let's go back to the original quote, although a joke, there are others who that description fits better.
  22. thekev, Nov 19, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2012

    macrumors 603


    Aug 5, 2010
    I was thinking of the liquid metal one here. They negotiated exclusive rights as opposed to a perpetual license. I do find it annoying when any company buys something seemingly with the sole intention to limit its access.

    I figured they didn't want others eventually producing larger parts out of LM or they wanted exclusive rights to do so without starting such a trend. I don't know much about the history behind Webkit. I'll read about it later.
  23. macrumors 68040

    Feb 2, 2008
    Yeah, but if they end up use it and what plans they have for it remains to be seen. It's not something you or I know anything about.
  24. macrumors 65816


    May 13, 2010
    Washington, DC
    Actually, Apple was not forced to leave Webkit open if you read up on the limited license it was protected under. Facetime is open because it's basically SIP, and it's already open right now.

    Did you ever consider that Liquid Metal may not be up to Apple's level of quality yet? Or is it always instantly Apple being predatory? I'm sure Apple was simply locking out the competition rather than getting **** a lot cheaper too.
  25. macrumors P6

    Jun 22, 2009
    Sorry - Liquid Metal isn't up to Apple's quality?

    I can go with they haven't found a use for it. Or that they are not sure what they want to do with it. But to imply that the material isn't up to Apple's level of quality yet is, in my opinion, reaching VERY far.

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