iOS 7 beta 4 contains reference to fingerprint sensor, developers do a happy dance

iOS 7 beta 4 contains reference to fingerprint sensor, developers do a happy dance

Summary: The rumored addition of a fingerprint sensor in the upcoming iPhone hardware appears to have been confirmed by the release of iOS 7 beta 4, which contains references to the technology.

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TOPICS: iOS, Apple, Hardware, iPhone
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Today's release of iOS 7 beta 4 includes code which appears to validate rumors that the next iPhone hardware will contain a fingerprint sensor in the home button, presumably to add new security options to the device. 

iOS 7 beta 4 contains reference to fingerprint sensor in home button - Jason O'Grady

9to5Mac (via Hamza Soodnotes that the just-released iOS 7 beta 4 includes a new folder called "BiometricKitUI" (pictured above) which contains code aimed at users with the iOS VoiceOver feature enabled. The strings inside the folder indicate that a new biometric sensor will be embedded in the iPhone's home button:

ios-beta-code-sample

According to 9to5Mac the user-interface for the fingerprint scanning system is complete and the technology will be used for unlocking the phone, but it is unclear if biometrics will be leveraged for an Apple payment system based on the user's iTunes account or if it will be integrated into its affinity card app, Passbook.

It's not hard to imagine all of the uses for a fingerprint sensor in an iPhone or iPad and developers would be especially interested in the technology if an API were made available that would allow them to access the fingerprint sensor from their apps. 1password and all of the major banking and financial apps would be eager to implement the technology and large corporations could also use the new security/verification hardware to secure the increasing amount of sensitive material and intellectual property that is contained on corporately-owned iPhones and iPads. 

A biometric fingerprint sensor would definitely give the iPhone a leg up on the competition, at least initially. Samsung filed a patent application in January 2012 and was granted patent number 20130129163 in May 2013 for the integration of a fingerprint sensor that could arrive in the Home buttons of upcoming Galaxy devices and possibly initiate another patent war (or licensing deal) between the companies. (Update: the Motorola ATRIX 4G included a fingerprint sensor. Read the CNET review here.)

Apple acquired fingerprint sensor firm AuthenTec for $356 million in July 2012 and rumors have been swirling since then about how the company could leverage biometric technology. 

How would you like to see a fingerprint scanner implemented in an iPhone or iPad?

Topics: iOS, Apple, Hardware, iPhone

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43 comments
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  • Hopefully it will work...

    ...if it is anything like the fingerprint scanners on my laptops of yore, I quickly turned it off. Has Apple managed to perfect fingerprint scanning where others have failed? It will be interesting to see.
    gomigomijunk
    • Since even most "professional" fingerprint readers have sucked...

      ... I doubt Apple will be able to make it any better. Most of them are not only unreliable, they're insecure. I have not yet heard of a single fingerprint reader that security experts have failed to trick. It would be a miracle if Apple was the one to succeed in making one that actually is secure (and I wouldn't trust *anybody* who claimed they did it without extensive proof).
      Natanael_L
      • You're just holding it wrong.

        -Steve
        LarsDennert
        • Your comment is old, trite, childish, is not humorous.

          By the way, over the years I owned a plethora of cellphones. For some in order to receive a good signal required being held certain ways. Had a Nokia, a Sony Ericsson, that at times had to be held by fingertips not in the hand, otherwise signal strength dropped off. Though all manufactures still have signal issues it is less than in past years.
          BubbaJones_
      • iPhones get fingerprint scanner!

        yay!
        newsflash:
        Hacker intercepts fingerprints thru siriproxy and
        prints fingerprint with 3D printer.
        warboat
        • Yet another in hourlong history of misinformed posts

          Authentecs Smart Sensor technology, using both optical and radio frequency sensing layers, is able to differentiate between not only real human skin and synthetic substitutes, it can even differentiate between living and dead tissue.
          Which you'd've known if you'd bothered to check your facts before trolling. Which you don't, because you didn't.
          .DeusExMachina.
          • hourlong=your long

            .DeusExMachina.
          • Don't worry

            As soon as it comes out I'm sure somebody will find a way to beat it and show how it's being done on DEFCON, just like any other biometric scanners on the market.

            And remember the more sophisticated the biometric technology, they more expensive it is and that will eat into Apple's margin; and with a phone that's so thin and light, there's always a trade off. I'm sure hackers will beat it in no time.
            Samic
          • In other words, you have nothing informed to add

            .DeusExMachina.
    • No technical reason why it shouldn't work

      The fingerprint scanner in my laptop works fine, I use it all the time for most services and sites that require a logon.
      mike@...
  • Yes since Motorola did it first.....

    I was an owner of the Motorola Atrix 4G. It came with a fingerprint scanner at the top of the phone. worked wonderfully, Apple then purchased the company that Motorola Licensed the Tech thru and have since been waiting to spring it as a business savvy addition to the Iphone line. Just fyi for any one reading this article and having the same doubts as gomi...
    and I personally would agree with him had I not already used it before.
    Mark Gately
  • Exciting stuff

    This is the type of innovation I've been waiting for.
    _NonZealot
    • Haven't been waiting for much, have you?

      I'm not going to re-iterate the arguments made above about the potential insecurity of the system; basically, we'll just have to wait and see. But to say "This is the type of innovation I've been waiting for," implies that you have been holding off on any purchase until this came along, something I'm quite sure isn't true. Besides, as the anti-Apple zealots have been saying for a long, long time; "everybody has fingerprint readers today." It's hardly an innovation.

      However, Apple has a reputation of making existing technologies work RIGHT and that's how they innovate.
      Vulpinemac
      • Master Joe Says...Or

        Apple makes things work right, OR they buy them. Apple purchased AuthenTec, a fingerprint reader manufacturer. They didn't cretae anything here, just took an existing technology and incorporated it into their devices. Not to suggest that other big tech companies don't do this. They do. Apple is just the only one that people seem so blind to this fact with.

        --Master Joe
        SteelCityPC
        • I've never understood why people care

          I remember Google Docs came from Writely... other than that I lost my original account, who cares? Then there was PowerPoint, purchased from somewhere or other. I owned version 2.0 of that on the Mac... and again, it was like, who cares how it came about? Microsoft bought Kinect's tech from an Israeli company, and again, who cares?

          The fact is that someone put these things into common use, and how they got those technologies hardly matters. One might even note that sports teams are entirely built on scouting, so why is it a big problem with tech acquisitions? Who you acquire says as much about how you want to innovate as what your 10,000 contract programmers scratch out.
          Mac_PC_FenceSitter
        • Why do you insist on posting on matters you have no clue about?!?

          You have NO data to support any contention about what complete package of technology Apple is using here, and what they are doing with it. So, despite the fact that EVERYTHING you write is merely supposition, you post as if you have some inside information that you simply DO NOT HAVE.
          For instance, you have no idea how SmartSensor tech might need to be modified to work as a home button, or to be embedded in the display screen, as others have speculated, and as such can NOT conclude anything about what was developed specifically by Apple after the acquisition.
          Pittsburgh hangs its head in shame.
          .DeusExMachina.
      • Sure I've upgraded to newer iPhones...

        ..all I'm saying is this is practical tech that I think will help now.

        Ie in Canada we have zero NFC so that added expense is just me trying to show off.
        _NonZealot
    • One thing strikes me as stupid...

      When using two hands, people generally use their index finger to press the home button. So, why show/tell people to use their thumb in the instructions for two handed use? The fingerprint on your index finger should be just as useful as your thumb print for identification. If you're trying to press the button with the thumb of the hand holding the phone, only the tip will touch the sensor, so it won't recognize your thumb. The descriptive instruction strings listed seem unusually unintuitive for Apple.
      BillDem
  • Why is this a big deal

    Adding a finger print sensor is stupid not something to really brag about I love apple but c'mon this is what we are waiting for in apple products to come!!! Not Impressed at all
    Pjr2186
  • No patent was granted to Samsung

    "Samsung filed a patent application in January 2012 and was granted patent number 20130129163 in May 2013 for the integration of a fingerprint sensor that could arrive in the Home buttons of upcoming Galaxy devices and possibly initiate another patent war (or licensing deal) between the companies."

    No patent was granted to Samsung. Only the patent application was published after the initial waiting period of 18 months. A simple check on the US Patent office website reveals this basic info (with 3 prior art documents already listed). At least check the basic facts of a case before publishing something like this.
    Forumacc Gm