If you use a smartphone, you know that you have two rather frustrating choices: you can store your user names and passwords on your phone, so when you open applications you don’t need to sign in (which is a security risk), or you can elect not to, which leaves you having to try and enter your user name and password (if you can remember them) on a tiny touchscreen while you’re on the go. Neither option is very appealing.
Imagine now, if you had a phone that could recognize your fingerprint and eliminate the need for user names and passwords. A thief stealing your phone would be unable to do much with it, and anyone who has access to your phone would be unable to snoop through your text messages or your browsing history. Does this sound like science fiction? Not if the rumors about Apple (News - Alert) are to be believed.
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Apple is expected to launch a new iPhone (News - Alert) this year with a fingerprint sensor hidden beneath the home button, according to Apple Insider. If it’s true, it would give Apple a big boost over competition from Android (News - Alert) and Windows Phone: while the fingerprint sensor makes sense with the iPhone’s design, it would be much harder to replicate the feature on competitive devices.
Apple will rather easily find a way to integrate the fingerprint sensor into the device’s “home” button, allowing Apple to keep its "minimalist design,” analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities told Apple Insider.
Many Android and Windows Phone devices have more than one button below the display, and those buttons usually lack the mechanical “push” of Apple's home button. As a result, attempts to mimic the fingerprint scanning on competing devices would be difficult and possibly frustrating for users, said Kuo.
The fingerprint scanning technology is being predicted in part because of Apple’s acquisition of security technology company AuthenTec for $356 million last summer. AuthenTec’s (News - Alert) Smart Sensor technology includes a detection matrix combined with finger print matching technology and security encryption, and this is what’s expected to power a near-future iPhone’s fingerprint recognition technology.
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Edited by Brooke Neuman