IHS: Apple 'triggering a new technology boom' with fingerprint sensors

IHS: Apple 'triggering a new technology boom' with fingerprint sensors

Summary: Analysts also affirmed that they expect Samsung to follow suit with its own fingerprint sensor-enabled smartphone by next year.


The iPhone 4 had the Retina display. The iPhone 4s had Siri. The iPhone 5 came with a larger Retina display.

Now a new analyst report further beats the drum that Apple has stirred up the pot once again with the fingerprint sensor tacked onto the iPhone 5s.

iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s: Connecting up the dots in Apple's plans

iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s: Connecting up the dots in Apple's plans

iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s: Connecting up the dots in Apple's plans

That might come as a bit of a surprise to some followers of the iPhone market since the 5s and 5c were unveiled in September. While the extra layer of security is by far one of the most (if not THE most) notable addition to the iOS smartphone, the advanced feature has lost some of its initial luster.

The drop off in attention was likely furthered with the introduction of the new iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display -- neither of which will have the fingerprint sensor despite rumors that they might.

Nevertheless, the fingerprint sensor might be the sleeping lion of the iPhone brand now based on a new report from iHS iSuppli, which declares that Apple has already incited "a new technology boom" for fingerprint-enabled smartphones.

Analysts predicted that 525 million smartphones with integrated fingerprint sensors will ship worldwide in 2017 -- up from just 45.7 million by the end of 2013.

Up until now, according to the report, fingerprint sensor technology on mobile devices has been by-and-large unreliable, putting it simply.

Marwan Boustany, a senior analyst covering MEMS and sensors at IHS, explained further in the report that fingerprint-enabled security has always been "conceptually attractive" but cost and performance inhibited widespread adoption.

But researchers argued that Apple changed the game through its acquisition of AuthenTec last year.

"With the introduction of the iPhone 5s, Apple has overcome these challenges and has offered a fingerprint sensor solution that delivers seamless functionality," Boustany continued. "Now that Apple has shown the way, competitors are in a race to enter the market with similar systems, propelling rapid growth in the coming years."

IHS also noted that Apple isn't alone in this field -- even if the Cupertino company is heralded as the primary innovator throughout the report. Researchers pointed toward HTC’s One Max, the Konka k5 Van Gogh and the Pantech Vega Secret Note as other examples paving the way.

Analysts also affirmed that they expect Samsung to follow suit with its own fingerprint sensor-enabled smartphone by next year.

Topics: Mobility, Apple, Hardware, iOS, iPhone

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  • No doubt phones will have them

    Just as likely they will go unused as they do on laptops that have fingerprint readers. After a couple times failing to unlock with fingerprint and off it will go mostly never to be used again and that's for the ones that ever get used in the first place.
    • Hmm...

      Meantime people love it. No wonder because this is very attractive option and works a bit faster than a regular unlocking your iPhone using a pass code. You can't ignore the fact that this is one of the features causing people to buy iPhone 5s. I think TouchID will appear in the future iPhone models too and unlikely to be removed so fast as you think.
      Maria Davidenko
      • Okay

        If this is one of the contributing factors to your purchasing decision then I am amazed. It offers no security benefit as it is easily circumvented, and after a brief period of using a passcode it takes half a second to unlock your phone.
        • Sorry. "Easily circumvented" it is not

          Even taking into account that early-on article about how it was "hacked", the guy used his own phone and his own finger to create the fake print. Without access to both phone and finger, you're not going to have much luck circumventing it.
        • Nope. The bounty is still unclaimed. Turns out

          to hack the sensor you pretty much need clean room conditions that you'll never find in the real world.
        • Ok...

          You don't get the point,do you?TouchID considered 'must to have' not because it offers you one more level of security , but because this is a simple,elegant and fast way to unlock your iPhone . The years of training in entering a pass code (do you remember it can be more than 4 digits, by the way?) to unlock your iPhone and just one touch. Pretty comparable.

          As for me, the lack of a TouchID sensor on my iPhone 5 doesn't bother me at all, that is TouchID isn't one of the aspects I consider, when I decide to buy me an iPhone.
          Maria Davidenko
        • Apparently, it *does* provide a *lot* of security

          These days, almost any public place you go, there are surveillance cameras. And what do surveillance cameras do best? Oh yeah! They record what you do!

          So, while you unlock your smartphone, the surveillance cameras around you all record your "secure" codes. Do you know who is watching? Do you know whether there is software that analyzes the keystrokes or gestures and produces the code in "plain text"? Do you ever use the smartphone passcode somewhere else? You sure do.

          None of this happens when you use the TouchID sensor. This alone is a *huge* security benefit, for everyone.
      • People don't "love" the 5s because it has fingerprint sensors...

        people love the "5s" because it's a version higher than the previous iPhone, and that alone is enough to give the perception that it's "the latest and greatest" from Apple. If the fingerprint thing hadn't been included as a feature, the 5s would still have sold as many as it did the first week-end. The brand and the hype and the fanatical devotion that people have for Apple, is enough to create a new successful cycle of sales for Apple iPhones.

        The fingerprint sensor will be a feature that will go ignored for the most part, and will be this cycle's Siri, which has been mostly ignored by most who got it on their iPHones. It's just a novelty for now, and to be forgotten soon.
        • you forgot the better reason, adornoe

          Of course, people buy the iPhone 5S because they can have it in gold.

          How could such an expert as you miss that one single most important reason?
          • You can dress a pig in gold, but underneath, it's still a pig...


            However, there is nothing that I said which is incorrect.

            And, Apple is actually doing what you sarcastically mentioned, and that is that, it's dressing it's iPHone 5 with different colors while still giving the perception that it's somehow "new and latest-and-greatest".

            So, thanks for reminding me about the how Apple is taking people for fools and taking their money.
    • Agreed, based on what I've seen

      granted, it's only 2 people I know who have 5S already so not a large "survey sample" , but one has zero interest in it (didn't even know the phone had it), while the second tried it but found it akward to use, and inconsistent, so no longer uses it.

      I think the fact that Apple wasn't sure that people would like or use it was a determining factor on omittint it from other products developed and released at the same time.

      I imagine that the jury's still out on it, and not many people really like it enough to go to the trouble to add it to other Apple products at the moment
    • Might Be More Reliable?

      The laptop fingerprint readers I remember weren't very good. However, I don't think they worked quite like Apple's reader. The laptop reader I remember required you to swipe your finger across a sensor strip. It was very unreliable, often requiring several swipes before it worked -- if it worked at all. When after multiple tries it still failed, cleaning it with your shirt sleeve would increase the success rate but it still wasn't guaranteed to work. When no matter what it failed, retraining it was often required to restore functionality.

      Unless I'm mistaken, Apple's reader doesn't require a swipe. It looks at your fingerprint much like Disney's fingerprint verification process. (Not swipe but rather a momentary stationary placement.) Provided the reader lens is clean, it should be more reliable than the laptop readers.

      Of course this doesn't mean it'll be reliable enough or that folks will use it. Based on my experience with laptop fingerprint readers, lots of improvement is needed to make it convenient.
      • Yep. You just put your finger on the home button and your phone

        unlocks after about half a second. It is very slick.
  • Nope

    Typical columnist trying to revive Apple after it lost it cool. Finger print tech is old and Apple didn't invent anything. Only the iTards think its magical.
    Sean Foley
    • Interesting

      It is really not a new option. It is new in smartphones. I bet next Samsung move will be to unlock a smartphone just by staring at its screen. Just like any other time ,they will try to bypass Apple ,offering something that does not work and actually no one needs.
      Maria Davidenko
      • Not Even New on Smartphones .....

        My two year old Motorola Atrix smartphone has a finger print scanner that I use all the time to log into the phone. While Apple might hype the finger print scanner more, it like many of Apple's features and products (ask the people at Xerox PARC), are not original Apple innovations.
        • It is older than that

          HP iPaq pocket PC had fingerprint scanner back in 2007. It is really old tech.
          • :-)

            What I’m trying to say is that non-tech people likes TouchID. It seems very attractive. I tell you more even. I know CEOs of 2 tech companies (communications, mobile R&D), they were really excited about TouchID. Despite that it isn't new in laptops or smartphones (By the way which exactly Droid smartphone has something like TouchID?).
            Maria Davidenko
    • Sigh. Here we go again.

      Apple's modus operandi is to take what's out there that would be really cool if it didn't suck so bad, and take the suckage out of it, leaving only the cool. They succeeded with Touch ID. Yes, fingerprint reading tech is old tech. Fingerprint reading tech that doesn't suck is new.
    • "Fingerprint tech is old and Apple didn't invent anything."

      Well, nothing but a fingerprint reader that actually works, that is.