With security a primary concern in this day and age, users are looking for better ways of locking their phones. With more users wary of hacking and password cracking, is there something that would uniquely identify the owner of a device to enable them to unlock it? The answer may be literally at our fingertips. Rumours of an iPhone fingerprint scanner took off recently, with the discovery of a file named BiometricKitUI.axbundle in the most recent beta version of iOS7.
According to Hamza Sood, the London-based programmer who revealed the existence of this file to 9to5mac.com, the file contains strings which would be read to a user with VoiceOver activated on their device. It includes an image of a fingerprint which changes colour “during set up process”.
While the details are sketchy, there are a number of pieces of the puzzle which certainly fit together. It’s a pretty sci-fi idea that has been around for a while, but it isn’t a fiction anymore. Some mobile phones and laptops already have biometric technology and it was rumoured that it would be included in some way, probably a fingerprint scanner, on the iWatch.
Apple’s purchase of security firm AuthenTec started speculations, due to that company;s expertise in biometric security technologies. It was also reported that the AuthenTec purchase would see that company bring their NFC technology to Apple, but when it was announced that NFC wouldn’t be coming to iOS7, focus returned to biometrics.
The rumours were fuelled when a Taiwanese supply chain source told Reuters that Apple was trying to source a coating that wouldn’t interfere with a fingerprint sensor.
An iPhone fingerprint scanner would certainly be cool, and a great solution to user’s privacy worries. It would eradicate the need for a password, a PIN or a swipe pattern. It also means that unlocking the phone would be much more difficult. It might be quite easy to crack a password or to guess a swipe pattern, but your fingerprints are unique to you and you can’t misplace them.
It would mean all of the information on your phone would be protected, and a thief would not be able to access your apps and make purchases. A fingerprint scanner would ensure that only you could unlock your phone.
The iPhone fingerprint scanner is rumoured to be placed in the home button. This would be an interesting and obvious choice. The home button is the focus point of the device and placing new technology here would only increase its role. It is the only actual button on the face of the device, and the main button, meaning it is a natural resting place for your thumb. That would make fingerprint recognition a fantastically easy method of proving your identity, as that’s where your thumb would already have been.
If the rumours are true, then there will be many possibilities opened to developers when the new hardware is released.
Photo Credit: Chris Isherwood