In July, seemingly out of the blue, Apple purchased the security company AuthenTec for $356 million. AuthenTec products include security, encryption, DRM, and, most tantalizingly, fingerprint scanners. My guess was that Apple might be more interested in the DRM side of things, but it looks like fingerprint scanning might soon be a thing on Apple devices.
TNW has discovered an SEC filing which shows a bit more of what Apple wants from the company — and believes that Apple wants fingerprint scanners and NFC, and wants them quickly. Apparently this deal has been in the works since late last year, and included an IP deal that’s described as:
The IP agreement provides Apple with the right to acquire non-exclusive licenses and certain other rights with respect to hardware technology, software technology and patents of the Company for commercialization of 2D fingerprint sensors for use in or with Apple products.
The question now, is when and where this technology will show up. TNW believes that Apple pushed hard to obtain the technology quickly so that we could see it this year — and I’ll be the first to admit that NFC and fingerprint scans would make me feel a whole lot better about the security and usefulness of Passbook. That said, I don’t know if there was enough time for Apple to turnaround a version of, say, the new iPhone or iPad Mini including this technology.
I guess we’ll know in a couple of weeks.