Touch ID November 25

AAPL: 118.03

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Not too long after the first rumors surfaced, Apple has given its usual non-confirmation that it has acquired Faceshift, the company behind the technology Star Wars used to animate the faces of CGI characters. It’s not an obvious fit for Apple, so what could be the thinking behind the purchase?

Like Apple’s patents, it is sometimes easy, I think, to read too much into some of the company’s acquisitions. Sure, it doesn’t go around acquiring companies randomly, but it may not always be after the complete package. It may well be that there is some small element of the company’s technology that Apple wants, or it may be an acquihire – where it’s the engineers rather than the specific tech the company wants.

But in this particular case, there is reason to suspect that Apple does have an interest in the broad brush-strokes of what Faceshift does …  expand full story

Touch ID November 16

AAPL: 114.18

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Touch ID November 6

AAPL: 121.06

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There have been an increasing number of reports from iPhone users running iOS 9.1 that Touch ID is proving slow or unreliable. The issue was first spotted by Forbes earlier this week.

The complaints are similar: users running iOS 9.1 find Touch ID either refuses to recognise a user’s fingerprint, has become highly unreliable or doesn’t even register a fingerprint pressed against it. Users have tried hard resets (holding in the power and home button for 10 seconds) and complete factory resets without any success.

The issue appears to be affecting a small minority of users, but enough to suggest that it is more than coincidence …
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Touch ID November 5

AAPL: 120.92

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The USPTO has today published a patent application by Apple to allow a specific fingerprint to activate a ‘panic mode’ on an iPhone, designed for use when the owner feels threatened, is in danger or is being forced to unlock their phone.

In its most basic form, placing a specific finger on the Touch ID button would place the iPhone into a special locked-down mode, blocking access to personal data store on the phone – perhaps simulating a brand new phone. In that way, if a street robber forced you to unlock your phone before handing it over, your data would be safe.

But the patent application goes far beyond this …  expand full story

Touch ID October 22

AAPL: 115.50

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Touch ID October 13

AAPL: 111.79

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While Apple may have waited for the iPhone 5s before it introduced Touch ID, it’s been working on the technology since shortly after the launch of the original iPhone. A patent first filed in 2007 was finally granted today, and includes the use of a fingerprint sensor in laptops – though the drawing Apple used to illustrate the concept seemingly dates back even further than 2007!

A finger sensing apparatus may include a finger sensor including an integrated circuit (IC) substrate, an array of finger sensing elements on the IC substrate, and match circuitry on the IC substrate for performing final finger matching. […] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an electronic device in the form of a laptop computer including a finger sensor and enhanced security in accordance with the present invention.

The patent also covers use in desktop computers, aka the iMac today, embedding the sensor into the keyboard …  expand full story


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