Digitimes says iPad Air 2 will be ‘thinner’ and have ‘improved fingerprint recognition’

 

Screenshot 2014-09-03 09.43.44

Says Digitimes:

Touch panel makers TPK and GIS are among some of the makers receiving orders from Apple for full-lamination units. Sources said the new model will remain unchanged in terms of size and resolution, but that it will be thinner, equipped with an enhanced processor, and contain improved fingerprint recognition features.

Two problems there (at least).

1) The current batch of physical mockups/leaks indicate that the new iPad Air will look mostly the same as the current version, and that it will be roughly the same thinness. You can tell in the image above that the new model (on the top) is only very slightly skinner.

2) How can the fingerprint sensor be “improved” if it never existed in the first place? Nonetheless, we’re hearing the new model does include a Touch ID sensor, like the iPhone.

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Claimed next-gen iPad Air rear shell photos show redesigned speaker, recessed volume controls

In June, photos of purported physical mockups for the next-generation iPad Air (the next full-sized iPad) appeared on the web showing a similar design to the current model, but with some tweaks. Closely mimicking the improved design, images posted to Weibo this weekend purport to show a next-generation iPad Air frame with a redesigned speaker, recessed volume controls, and a new microphone next to the camera lens (like on the latests iPhones and iPods).

The photos do not show us much else, but they do provide some additional confirmation that a new iPad Air is on its way, and that the new tablet will not look much different externally from the current generation. While the exterior will be mostly the same, customers can count on the next full-sized Apple tablet to rock the iPhone’s Touch ID fingerprint scanner and a faster A8 processor. The same Weibo poster of the above photos also recently shared an engineering diagram for the next iPhone:

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iPhone’s Touch ID metal ring fits in iPad 5 part, but likely isn’t evidence for fingerprint-scanning iPads

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With the announcement of the new iPads approaching later this month, rumors surrounding the new full-sized iPad have centered around a thinner, lighter design, but it’s been unclear if the new tablet will sport the Touch ID fingerprint authentication system from the iPhone 5s. I’ve heard that Apple’s most recent internal next-generation iPad prototypes have lacked Touch ID sensors, so it’s unclear if it will make the cut for this year. There are a few reasons why Touch ID wouldn’t make sense on an iPad this year:

  • Exclusivity to iPhone 5s could help with sales for Apple’s flagship phone. Notice the iPhone 5c doesn’t have it.
  • Supplies for Sapphire Crystal are obviously tight.
  • Touch ID would be better suited for an iPad capable of multiple users; is the OS even ready for that?

On the other hand, bringing Touch ID to the iPad this year would create consistency for Apple’s fall 2013 iOS Device line. Apple’s iPhone 5s internal test units did not gain Touch ID until late into testing, so there isn’t conclusive evidence right now for either direction…

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Apple details Fingerprint Sensor/Touch ID security, 48 hour wipe standard

touchid

Via the Wall Street Journal, an Apple spokesperson fleshes out some of the finer details surrounding the fingerprint sensor and Touch ID.  To use Touch ID, it is mandatory to also set up a passcode. This acts as a fallback in case the fingerprint sensor fails temporarily or experiences a permanent hardware fault. iOS may necessitate a passcode under some other conditions, as well.

Only that passcode (not a finger) can unlock the phone if the phone is rebooted or hasn’t been unlocked for 48 hours. This feature is meant to block hackers from stalling for time as they try to find a way to circumvent the fingerprint scanner.

By having the sensitive data expire fairly quickly, Apple is hoping that hackers will not have enough time to decrypt the data and have it still be useful. However, the time is long enough that it should not inconvenience users very often.

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iPhone 5S to have convex sapphire home button that doubles as a fingerprint reader?

Authentec-sapphire-iPhone-fingerprint

We’ve previously noted KGI Securities’ Ming-Chi Kuo for his often accurate reports on upcoming Apple products in the past. Usually those reports revolve around features that have been somewhat expected. We’ve expected a fingerprint scanner for quite some time and even found code that seems to point to a biometric input for the new iPhone. We’ve also profiled possible fingerprint readers in the iPhone 5S just last week.

Today’s report is something a bit out of left field however. Kuo expects the iPhone 5S to have a sapphire fingerprint reader home button that will no longer be plastic and concave but actually protrude slightly from the iPhone in a convex manner. This isn’t the first we’ve heard of Sapphire home buttons but the first reputable source on the matter. Kuo

Convex home button creates space for fingerprint sensor; yield to improve. We think that a fingerprint sensor will be placed under the home button of iPhone 5S. However, assembling it could be difficult as the space under home button is limited as it already has to accommodate the Lightning connector, speaker and microphone. Thus, we think the shape of the home button could be changed from concave to convex to create more space for a fingerprint sensor.

Sapphire prevents home button from being scratched. A convex home button could be more easily scratched, so a harder material is required. We believe Apple will switch from plastic to sapphire, whose hardness is second only to diamond. Sapphire would protect the home button from being scratched and the fingerprint sensor from being damaged.

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Apple patent covers hidden biometric sensor, fingerprint tech for security & wallet applications

With Apple’s $356 million purchase of mobile security firm AuthenTec, for its nearly 200 patents covering fingerprint and sensor technologies, there has been a lot of talk about how Apple might integrate the technology into future devices. Adding to the rumors are recent reports that Apple signed a deal with Sydney, Australia-based Microlatch to develop NFC apps using its fingerprint authentication tech. Today, we get a look at some possible areas Apple might be exploring with the technology thanks to a patent application published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and detailed by Patently Apple.

As highlighted in the image above, Apple’s patent covers a hidden color-matched or transparent “window”—next to the iPhone’s home button in this case—that could reveal “components by causing the electronic window to change opacity, allowing the components to suddenly appear as from out of nowhere.” In other words, Apple could build a biometric sensor or camera into a device’s bezel but have it remain invisible to the user—at least when not in use. One embodiment of the invention described using fingerprint tech during the unlocking process (pictured right):

In Apple’s patent FIGS. 12 and 13 shown below we see a biometric sensor in context with a fingerprint reader which is initially concealed behind a closed window on an iPhone. Upon the iPhone’s activation in a locked state, a lock screen 160 may be displayed requesting a user to slide a finger across the display to unlock the device. The electronic device may request user authentication to access the handheld device. The device may then display an instruction screen requesting that a user provide biometric data via their fingerprint which will be read by the fingerprint reader.

The patent also covers similar methods using face recognition and eye recognition rather than fingerprint sensors; the invention would also not be limited to unlocking devices. The patent continued by describing e-commerce and wallet applications, which would line up with the earlier reports regarding Microlatch: Read more