Next-gen iPhone, iPad mini may scan your fingerprints

Next-gen iPhone, iPad mini may scan your fingerprints

Summary: The so-called "iPhone 5S" will debut later than expected as Apple works through the challenges of incorporating new capabilities.

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Apple acquired mobile security company AuthenTec last year so that it could stay ahead of the competition, most notably Samsung.

Incorporating the smaller company's fingerprint-sensing technology into its flagship product (the iPhone) has proved to be a slightly more difficult challenge.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-chi Kuo wrote in a note to investors this morning that Apple's next-generation iPhone — which has been referred to, unofficially, as the "iPhone 5S" in the press — may debut later than expected as the company works through the challenges of incorporating sensors for the technology in its handset.

Specifically, Apple is trying to engineer out the interference created by material inserted beneath the cover glass, Kuo wrote. It faces similar challenges with the next generation of the diminutive iPad mini, which analysts predict will carry a high-resolution "Retina" display.

My CNET colleague Josh Lowensohn adds:

On top of those claims, Kuo notes that Apple's plans for a lower-cost iPhone are also getting tripped up by manufacturing difficulties, specifically around the casing. Apple is said to be reverting back to plastic for the back of the iPhone, which it used in the first three iPhone models before switching to glass, then metal.

All of this is unconfirmed speculation, of course. But as ZDNet capo di tutti capi Larry Dignan noted in July, it's all about security in the enterprise (which is where Apple has made surprisingly solid inroads) and fending off bids from Samsung and a possibly resurgent BlackBerry.

Apple has demonstrated in the past that it doesn't mind waiting to launch a product until it gets it right. Let's not forget that radio interference has plagued the company in the past. It is reasonable to think that this mentality isn't still the case today.

Topics: Apple, Emerging Tech, Mobility

Andrew Nusca

About Andrew Nusca

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. During his tenure, he was the editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation.

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11 comments
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  • .

    Meh!
    Sly Lopez
    • It's what users are crying out for...

      More time between iPhone updates.

      General concesus of non tech people I speak to; please not a 5s, people want something different, both through the handset and OS.

      No not everyone. Whatever you do people will complain, but I've seen the perception change; my colleagues see the 5 as a stretched 4s... Comparisons they just weren't making going from the 4 to the 4s, even though they looked the same.

      By contrast I seem to be the only person not calling for a mini retina! I had a nexus 7 before. Maybe I'm getting old, but I only notice the lower resolution with them right next to each other. In use... Never. It'd be a nice feature, but if it lowers battery life or they make it heavier.. No thank you apple.

      Oh and brew the first I phone had a metal back... Like iPods the 3G and 3GS only were plastic... Indestructible plastic...
      MarknWill
      • 5 a streched 4s??

        Yeash.. That's a bit harsh. If you have a 5 then pick up a 4 or 4s you definitely know you picked up a different phone. Bigger, lighter, thinner, and feels like one solid piece.

        But I will say that I'm getting tired of the 4, 4s, 5, 5s tapdance. Just stick with numbers or heck even roman numerals. Just ditch the s.
        Johnpford
        • Prefer 4s

          the iphone 5 is awkward... its too light for me... the aspect ratio of the screen is awkward. you will notice it when looking at pictures... I prefer the 4s to 5... afterall no real innovation in it.
          Sly Lopez
    • It's what users are crying out for...

      More time between iPhone updates.

      General concensus of non tech people I speak to; please not a 5s, people want something different, both through the handset and OS.

      No not everyone. Whatever you do people will complain, but I've seen the perception change; my colleagues see the 5 as a stretched 4s... Comparisons they just weren't making going from the 4 to the 4s, even though they looked the same.

      By contrast I seem to be the only person not calling for a mini retina! I had a nexus 7 before. Maybe I'm getting old, but I only notice the lower resolution with them right next to each other. In use... Never. It'd be a nice feature, but if it lowers battery life or they make it heavier.. No thank you apple.

      Oh and btw the first Iphone had a metal back... Like iPods the 3G and 3GS only were plastic... Indestructible plastic...
      MarknWill
  • I doubt it.

    They're probably stocking up on patents again.
    ForeverCookie
  • Or not. And Android will come with a defibrillator called G-Health.

    Or not.

    MS is going to kill the DeskTop. Or not.

    Facebook is going to make their own phone. Or not.

    Dude, speculation about things we know nothing about is not news.
    Bruizer
    • Since when is any commentary considered news?

      And why is it so important that you classify this as news?
      Michael Kelly
  • Hurry up and patent that, apple...

    before companies like Asus use fingerprint readers six years ago, or others a decade ago...
    HypnoToad72
  • And this is new?

    I've notice stacks of Laptop models who used to have fingerprint scanners have dropped them. Most were never used!
    martin_js
  • Hey this comments pretty funny!

    "doesn't mind waiting to launch a product until it gets it right. "
    Maybe in the past, there record recently isn't so good!
    martin_js