AuthenTec Inc., the maker of fingerprint security chips, will be acquired by Apple Inc. for $356 million according to Reuters. The company is known for providing additional security to personal computers, through fingerprint verification, as well as fingerprint recognition for near-field communication.
While this move was undoubtedly smart by Apple, my question is, what do they plan to use the technology for?
After the brouhaha that erupted from Google Wallet's safety failings, could Apple be planning to use this technology as a way to further protect iPhones from hacking? While having a 4 number password does significantly decrease the odds of someone hacking into your phone, fingerprint verification would increase security exponentially, making users even more keen to stick with Apple products.
Additionally, the fact that AuthenTec also produces fingerprint recognition continues to fuel the discussion of whether or not the new iPhone 5 will, in fact, have NFC capabilities. There have been rumors and speculation for months about whether or not the new iPhone with be NFC capable, and many think that iPhone adoption will be the last straw in having the general public adopt the system into their daily routine- this acquisition would in my mind, indicate that an iPhone will be NFC capable but certainly not one to be launched in the fall of 2012.
Either way, this move clearly indicates that even if Apple isn't ready to implement this technology, they certainly don't want their competitors getting a hand on it. By acquiring the company that previously provided software and chips to Samsung (now the hottest contender to overthrow Apple with their Galaxy SIII), Apple is ensuring that if they aren't using the technology, no one is.