Apple Bets Big On Biometrics With iPhone 5S

By Pete Rizzo (@pete_rizzo_)

Following months of anticipation, Apple finally unveiled its latest smartphone products – the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5C – in a September 10 event at the company’s Cupertino, California, headquarters.

Most notable for the payments world was not the bright colors Apple introduced into its offerings or its new true-tone flash, but the new biometric security capabilities it previewed. When it becomes available to the public on September 20, Apple’s iPhone 5S will include Touch ID, a long-rumored built-in fingerprint authentication security feature.

“Now you can simply touch the home button to unlock your phone,” Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, told the gathered crowd, according to TechCrunch. “Since it’s built in, you can also use it to make iTunes purchases [without typing your password].”

The new laser-cut sapphire crystal home button will sit on top of a 170 micron-thin sensor and be surrounded by a stainless steel detection ring. Schiller indicated that Touch ID “reads your fingerprint at an incredibly detailed level,” and allows for 360-degree readability.

“It can read multiple fingerprints, and read them from any orientation,” Schiller continued.

All data from the reader is then stored in the iPhone 5S’s A7 chip. He noted that isn’t accessible by software, and that it isn’t stored in Apple’s servers.

However, while the announcement will no doubt have repercussions Apple left a few big rumors unfulfilled. In particular, Apple did not announce the long-rumored “iPayments” service or NFC technology, meaning it’s still the only major manufacturer yet to adopt the technology, NFC World noted.

For more on how Apple’s iPhone 5S will change the security landscape, read The Wall Street Journal’s full report here

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