Apple Buys Rights to Use Fingerprint Scanner Technology

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(Last Updated On: March 26, 2019)

iphone-fingerprint-ifixyouriApple has recently purchased AuthenTec, a biometrics security company, for $356 million or $7 per share. Within that purchase, Apple has received the rights to use hardware and software technology and has received the rights to the patents for its 2D fingerprint scanner, according to the SEC filing.

How Apple Plans to Use the Technology

There is plenty of speculation as to what Apple will do with the technology it garners by its purchase of AuthenTec. Perhaps the fingerprint technology will make it onto the next versions of the iPhone or iPad.

In addition to the fingerprint scanner technology, AuthenTec is well-known for its NFC (Near Field Communications) smart sensor. One rumor that had been circulating since the early part of 2011 was that Apple would add these capabilities to the iPhone 5, but it didn’t materialize.  Perhaps it will become available to the iPhone or iPad in the future.

In the meantime, if you’re holding out for a future generation that will include the new technology, and want to keep your current device, remember you can simply get your iPhone or iPad fixed if it fails in the interim.

When the Deal Began and Why

Before Apple decided to buy the company, AuthenTec had been trying to sell licenses for its, as yet unspecified, technology. It had approached several consumer electronics companies, but was unsuccessful in selling the licenses.

Many companies seem to have been unreceptive due to the pricing on the technology. Apple had expressed interest in buying the licenses, but negotiations fell through sometime in early 2012.

At that point, Apple considered another option, purchasing the company and everything that went with that purchase. Apple’s argument for the pricing was that it had a unique set-up to offer. Unlike other companies, which have several different platforms, Apple has a one-platform company set-up. This means there are less challenges in applying the technology AuthenTec has created.

Though it is unclear which technology Apple wanted most from this purchase, the fingerprint scanner or the NFC scanner, Apple insisted on a quick purchase. Is your next iPhone going to a) unlock via fingerprinting? or b) automatically communicate with nearby phones? Or is it something else entirely — what do you think?