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Apple in a rush to get fingerprint technology, SEC filing suggests

August 16, 2012|By Deborah Netburn
  • A fingerprint blown up on a computer at a forensics lab in Las Vegas.
A fingerprint blown up on a computer at a forensics lab in Las Vegas. (Kirk McKoy/Los Angeles…)

Is super-awesome, hi-tech fingerprint technology heading to Apple products like the the iPhone, iPad and even the Mac store?

Fingertips crossed!

At the end of July, Apple paid $356 million to buy the fingerprint authentication products maker AuthenTec Inc. In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Wednesday, it seems that Apple was in a hurry to get the deal done as soon as possible.

Check out this chunk of text from the "Background of the Merger" section of the filing:

"Representatives of Apple also noted Apple’s desire to proceed quickly due to its product plans and ongoing engineering efforts. As a result of its focus on timing, Apple’s representatives also informed the Company that Apple would not participate in an auction process and would rescind its proposal if the board decided to solicit alternative acquisition proposals for the Company."

The filing never explicitly says that Apple is interested in the fingerprint technology piece of AuthenTec's portfolio of products, definitely the coolest of its offerings.

As AuthenTec explains on its website, it has developed a patented swipe sensor technology that reads the live layer of skin beneath your actual fingerprint, so even if you have oily or callused fingertips, the fingeprint will still be accurate "for everyone every time."

In additon to the obvious security benefits of fingerprint technology, AuthenTec's sensors can associate different functions with different fingers, so in theory, you could teach your phone that if you touch it with your right pinky finger it will open your email inbox, or speed dial your mom if you swipe your right thumb across the screen.

Of course, fingerprint technology isn't the only thing AuthenTec works on. It also makes security technology for mobile devices.

But that's way less exciting. As my colleague Sal Rodriguez reported in July, Apple's AuthenTec purchase was its biggest purchase since it bought Anobit Technologies in 2011 for $400 million. Here's hoping they paid the big bucks to do something game-changing.

ALSO:

Apple said to be in talks with cable operators for TV device

Apple buys fingerprint security firm AuthenTec for $356 million

How low will Facebook shares go? 'Lockup' expires, stock plunges

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