There has been a longstanding rumor that Apple is developing a fingerprint sensor for use in upcoming releases of their popular iDevices, bolstering their relevance in the enterprise sector. According to 9to5Mac, these rumors have now been confirmed, following Monday's release of iOS 7 beta 4.
The latest iteration of Apple's mobile software contains a small segment of code, hidden within a folder titled “BiometricKitUI”, which points to the new security feature. Although there are no outwardly visual signs in the iOS user interface, the code (shown below) references fingerprint-sensing technology that can accurately identify the user’s left or right thumb when they are grasping their iPhone.
To beef up its security offerings, Apple recently acquired AuthenTec, a specialist in fingerprint sensor technology, to the tune of $365 million. AuthenTec has worked closely with HP, Samsung and Dell over the years; and prior to the buyout, the firm’s technology was being used to develop more secure logins, enhance user verification tools, and to restrict access to private applications and accounts.
Although the code definitely indicates that a biometric scanning tool is in the works, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to be released anytime soon. For example, code foreshadowing the company's popular panorama feature was first discovered back in 2011; however, the feature didn’t actually come to the iPhone until iOS 6 was unveiled in late 2012.
That being said, with the next iteration of the iPhone set to hit store shelves in the next few months, it's definitely a development to watch out for.
The Apple iPhone 5 is the latest flagship smartphone from Apple. The iPhone 5 features a 4-inch display retains the same 326 PPI density as its predecessor with an effective resolution of 1,126 x 640, and a new Lightning connector. The new handset now features 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi with 802.11n supporting dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies. Bluetooth 4.0 is back in addition to GPS and GLONASS for location services.
The iPad 2 improves on the original in many ways, including a significantly faster dual-core CPU, improved graphics and a thinner footprint. The iPad 2 also manages to shave off 0.2 pounds for a total weight of 1.33 pounds on the Wi-Fi only model. Apple has included two cameras on the iPad 2 – a VGA-quality front facing lens for FaceTime and a rear-facing camera capable of recording 720p video.
The iPad mini is a smaller version of the iPad and it’s much more than just a shrunken-down iPad. The iPad Mini packs a dual-core A5 processor, dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, a FaceTime HD camera, 5-megapixel rear iSight camera with 1080p recording and an optional LTE radio. The Mini sports a 7.9-inch display and 1,024 x 768 resolution. Battery life is estimated at 10 hours.
The iPhone 4S looks identical to last year's model but comes in a new 64GB flavor and upgrades the camera to include an 8-megapixel sensor with improved low-light performance and 1080p video capture. In terms of performance the new iPhone is reportedly up to 2x faster and is also capable of running on faster HSPA+ networks, reaching theoretical download speeds of up to 14.4Mbps.
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