It looks like Apple might be getting ready to bring fingerprint scanning to their devices, in light of their purchase of AuthenTec today for a cool $356 million. The Florida-based company specializes in biometrics, particularly the sort of fingerprint scanners found on some laptops already. Apple paid a hefty price for them, paying over half again what their shares are worth to buy the whole company out.
Reuters speculates that this may be part of Apple’s plans to bring mobile payment options to the iPhone. Along with the NFC chip that’s rumored to reside in the new iPhone, a security measure like a fingerprint scanner would round out the payment transaction capabilities of the iPhone. Since this acquisition is just happening now, we’re probably not going to see this tech in the iPhone 5 – perhaps the iPhone 6, or even an iPhone 5S, will bring some biometric capabilities with it.
This move from Apple could be bad news for Samsung, who licenses security software from AuthenTec. They’ll now be putting money into the coffers of their enemies, should they continue to use their products. Dell, Lenovo and HP are also customers of AuthenTec, for whom they provide fingerprint sensor technology. It’s unclear whether Apple will allow those deals to continue.