Biometrics are highly popular among tech and smartphone manufacturers right now. Passwords can be hacked, but the shape of your face can’t. Fingerprints are harder to imitate than finding out the name of your first pet. And the biometric end of things might be about to get a huge boost courtesy of a certain iPhone manufacturer.
Apparently one of the goodies buried deep in iOS 7 was a file labeled “biometric kit”. Contained in the file were images and code that seem to indicate the next iPhone will be able to scan your fingerprint to allow you access to your phone. You just lay your thumb over the Home button and you’ve got a ticket in.
This is backed up by Apple’s moves in the past. They’ve bought a biometrics firm that uses a mix of techniques to get the sharpest fingerprint possible. Equally as important, the techniques this acquisition uses can scan through protective layers and the like, meaning Apple doesn’t have to give anything up in terms of product integrity in order to add this new feature.
One of the theories is that Apple is using this to create a kind of shortcut using your fingers. You could tie your index finger to your most called number, your pinky to your favorite app, and your middle finger to a soundboard of profanity. It’s certainly a neat idea.
The main question is how, precisely, Apple will implement this. The iPhone 5S seems almost certain, but it’s also a question of integration beyond just the software. What we’d really like to see is a tool that lets multiple people use the same device in a simple way, which might be a little more than the current system can handle.
But, hey, being able to share your phone only with people you like would be a nice change of pace. Now if you’ll excuse us, we have to finish cleaning up what a “friend” put on our Wall.
Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.