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One of the cornerstone features of Apple’s upcoming iPhone 5s is the Touch ID fingerprint scanning system. The feature allows an iPhone 5s user to unlock their iPhone or authenticate iTunes/App Store/iBooks downloads with the touch of their fingerprint on the device’s Home button. During the hands-on time with the device following Apple’s September 10th presentation, Apple demonstrated Touch ID with Apple employees carrying around iPhone 5s units that are programmed to their distinct fingers.

But come September 20th, Apple will have more than just a couple hundred journalists wanting to test out Touch ID: they will have millions of customers rushing into their hundreds of stores worldwide. With fingerprints being an authentication solution personalized to every individual, Apple needs an effective way to allow customers to test out Touch ID in its chain of retail stores. With millions of customers, it will be difficult for Apple to keep Touch ID testing restricted to devices showcased by Apple employees in the stores, and Apple has a solution…

We’ve learned that Apple has designed a demo application specific to the iPhone 5s demo units that will be found in Apple Stores and Carrier stores. To test Touch ID, a customer can launch the demo app. In this app, a customer can setup the device to recognize a single fingerprint. When the setup process is complete, the application will direct the user to place that fingerprint on the Touch ID sensor on the Home button. The application will then show that the Home button successfully read the fingerprint. Then, the app will tell the user to place a different finger on the Home button. The app will then show a red fingerprint outline to note that the authentication was not successful.

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While the Touch ID demos in Apple Stores will not show-off the Touch ID’s true functionality (with unlocking the phone and downloading content), but it does effectively get the point across about how fingerprints are either accepted or rejected. It also teaches customers about the setup process that will be found on purchased iPhone 5s devices. The application will be reset for each new customer to be able to try out the Touch ID setup process. Apple Store employees will be instructed to tell customers that Touch ID supports up to five distinctive fingerprints.

In addition to Touch ID, Apple has instructed its retail staff to promote the new 64-bit A7 processor and the new camera features. You can find Apple’s training guide for employees below:

training

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13 Responses to “Apple Stores to show off iPhone 5s Touch ID feature using demo app”

  1. Austin Lee says:

    just curious: do you need to set up Touch ID for your left and right thumbs separately?

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    • My understanding is that you can set up as many fingers as you like, along with a passcode as a secondary fallback, so yes you would need to set up both thumbs separately (if you wanted too)

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    • degraevesofie says:

      just curious: do you need to set up Touch ID for your left and right thumbs separately?

      If you wish to use both for unlocking, yes. (There is no general fine-grained similarity between left and right fingers.)

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  2. I was wondering how they’d handle this. Interesting.

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  3. I don’t understand how this can work if everything is stored in the “secure enclave” of the A7. Didn’t Apple say apps wouldn’t have access to the sensor?

    I understand that there may be private APIs, but aren’t these a security risk simply by their presence?

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    • My guess is there is an API for interfacing with the sensor and it’s probably what is used by the software that registers the user’s fingerprints. Apple just isn’t making it available to 3rd party developers.

      I think (or at least I HOPE) the goal is to eventually release an API so that 3rd party apps can interface with the Touch ID and Apple is probably just cautiously introducing this system and making sure it works before letting everyone else have at it. If you ask me, the Touch ID is very underutilized right now. There’s tremendous potential with such convenient biometric authentication and it’s being held back so long as Apple keeps the interface private.

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    • degraevesofie says:

      I don’t understand how this can work if everything is stored in the “secure enclave” of the A7. Didn’t Apple say apps wouldn’t have access to the sensor?

      I understand that there may be private APIs, but aren’t these a security risk simply by their presence?

      The OS on demo phones is slightly different from the one in general use.

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    • The chip creates an hash that can only be remade with the use of the fingerprint on setup, it then does the same and checks with the stored hash when it is needed, effectively never giving the fingerprint to anything else than the chip

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  4. The problem is that this is ONLY for the Apple stores. Carrier stores such as Rogers, Bell, Telus & the rest of them in Canada & the states, have no clue what the hell they are doing as the carriers do not give them training for this. The carriers will send out a email with the demo over a email but not live training them for this.

    So this make is useless to customers that go to the carrier to get the phone.

    Hopefully this training is worth it!. Hopefully the reps at the Apple stores across the countries can show iff the features of the iPhone 5S as it should be shown off like this.

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  5. coolnish92 says:

    Its a subtle thing to expect from the people that they’d be actually using those five distinct fingerprints. Anyways, the employees will be having a tough time persuading the clients

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  6. Cyril Momah says:

    setting up both fingers makes more sense anyway and with these features tooAnti-Glare, Anti-Scratch, Anti-Fingerprint – Matte Finishing Screen Protector http://goo.gl/8ntC1S i hope i don’t spend my money buying just phone

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