Apple wants fingerprint sensors in its products

(Credit: Apple)

The next big Apple feature could be a 2D fingerprint scanner.

Back in July, Apple licensed technology from AuthenTec to commercialize 2D fingerprint sensors for use in or with Apple products, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission made yesterday. Apple has already said it has agreed to buy the security technology provider for $356 million, though the deal still needs shareholder approval

Apple has a history of acquiring companies for their unique technology. Siri, for instance, was acquired and not developed internally.

Holmes contacted Apple for further details on its plans for AuthenTec. We’ll update the story when the company responds.

Apple appears to be in hurry. The company also entered into a joint development agreement in which AuthenTec would perform engineering work.

The SEC filing, a proxy sent out to AuthenTec shareholders to approve the deal, spills some interesting details. Representatives of Apple and AuthenTec first met in February to talk about a licensing deal, but Apple balked at the terms.

When the talks over the terms of the deal stalled, Apple came back in May with an offer to buy AuthenTec outright, and made it clear it would not be interested in a commercial agreement. At the time, Apple was the only company taking a serious interest in the technology.

The move to acquire AuthenTec suggests Apple wanted the technology for itself. A fingerprint sensor would be handy in large business or government agencies where security is paramount. For consumers, it could be an attractive way to lock up Apple’s upcoming Passbook, which acts as a digital wallet on the next version of iOS.



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