Fingerprint recognition Stories July 23, 2015

Apple patents TV remote with Touch ID, references both television and HomeKit applications

While Apple reportedly dropped its plans to make a complete TV, its adoption of the Apple TV box as the gateway device for HomeKit may be behind a patent for a TV remote with Touch ID.

As is often the case, the patent is expressed in extremely broad terms, referring to a “sensor configured to detect a biometric characteristic of a user” and mentioning everything from iris detection to voice sensing, but a fingerprint is included and appears to be what is shown in the main drawing.

Apple suggests that biometric authorization could be used both for things like selecting an individual’s preferred channels on a TV, and for home automation applications like changing a thermostat temperature or opening a garage door.

As ever, the fact that Apple patents something is no indication that it will ever make it into a product.

Via Patently Apple

Fingerprint recognition Stories January 26, 2015

Apple’s purchase of AuthenTec cost the Nexus 6 its fingerprint reader, reveals former Motorola CEO

When Apple bought AuthenTec back in 2012, it did more than grab the best fingerprint technology available for itself – it also stopped Google including a fingerprint sensor in the Nexus 6, revealed former Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside. Speaking to the Telegraph, Woodside said that the dimple on the back of the handset was originally intended to be a fingerprint reader.

Indeed, the 6-inch Nexus 6, he can now admit, was stymied by just one of those big players. A dimple on the back that helps users hold the device should, in fact, have been rather more sophisticated. “The secret behind that is that it was supposed to be fingerprint recognition, and Apple bought the best supplier. So the second best supplier was the only one available to everyone else in the industry and they weren’t there yet,” says Woodside.

A fingerprint scanner had been widely rumored prior to the launch of the Android smartphone originally code-named Shamu, and it’s believed one was included in internal prototypes, before it was abandoned. Woodside’s comments provide the explanation, Motorola originally intending to buy or license the sensor from AuthenTec.

Fingerprint recognition Stories September 3, 2014

 

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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Fingerprint recognition Stories August 3, 2014

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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Fingerprint recognition Stories July 15, 2014

Apple is refused Touch ID trademark by USPTO – has six months to respond

Patently Apple reports that the US Patent & Trademark Office has refused Apple’s application for a trademark in Touch ID. The decision – made in May but only now made public – is because another company already holds a trademark for Kronos Touch ID, and there is a “likelihood of confusion” given the very similar names.

USPTO states that “Trademark Act Section 2(d) bars registration of an applied-for mark that so resembles a registered mark that it is likely that a potential consumer would be confused or mistaken or deceived as to the source of the goods and/or services of the applicant and registrant.

In this case, the following factors are the most relevant: similarity of the marks, similarity of the goods and/or services, and similarity of trade channels of the goods and/or services.

A search of the USPTO trademark database shows that the Kronos Touch ID trademark also related to a fingerprint recognition system, and that it has held the trademark since 2001:

Apple only applied for its trademark in January of this year:

Apple has six months to respond to the USPTO with a suggested remedy, otherwise the trademark application will be treated as abandoned and it would be forced to rename the feature. As we can’t imagine this happening – especially as we expect Touch ID to appear on iPads in the fall – it seems most likely that Apple will be heading over to Kronos’s offices, check-book in hand …

Fingerprint recognition Stories May 7, 2014

TSMC reportedly shipping first batch of fingerprint sensors for next-generation iPhone and iPads

According to cecb2b, TSMC is already in the midst of fingerprint sensor production for the next round of Apple devices. As rumored, the company is manufacturing fingerprint readers for the next iPhone, as well as the next-generation version of the iPad Air and iPad mini. Apparently, the company has already provided the first batch of sensors from its suppliers.

Fingerprint recognition Stories October 29, 2013

Apple now highlighting 64-bit A7 iPhone 5s chip on magazine covers

Earlier this month, we highlighted that Apple is touting the iPhone 5s’s Touch ID fingerprint scanner and gold color option on the back of certain magazine covers. Now, we’ve spotted a new magazine ad for the iPhone 5s. This one, instead, highlight’s the device’s 64-bit A7 processor. “64-bit” is complex technical jargon, but Apple simplifies it to mean that the iPhone is powerful and offers all-day battery life.

Fingerprint recognition Stories October 2, 2013

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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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Fingerprint recognition Stories September 11, 2013

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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Fingerprint recognition Stories September 8, 2013

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We haven’t seen any LEDs behind the fingerprint-reading home button in parts leaks but that hasn’t stopped Martin Hajek from mocking up a ‘Lord of the Rings’ version (Gallery below) of the iPhone 5S based on the recent packaging leaksexpand full story

Fingerprint recognition Stories August 10, 2013

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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Fingerprint recognition Stories July 17, 2013

Rumored iPhone 5S production shots & specs: IGZO display, fingerprint reader, NFC, 12MP cam

Some unverified news out of China this morning points to new iPhone 5S production shots and specs which don’t seem out of the realm of possibility. The production shots above claim to be of the iPhone 5S, but with the case expected to be identical to the 5, it is hard to tell the difference.

Specs for the iPhone 5S from this same leak include NFC reader (which was taken out of the iPhone 5 late in production we’ve heard), a Fingerprint Reader (which may or may not be causing production delays), Sharp 4-inch 1136×640 (and maybe LG) IGZO display for power savings and better image quality and new 12 megapixel backside camera with dual LED flash.

Other purported improvements include 2GB of RAM, same A6 CPU at a higher clock with improved quad-core SGX 554MP4 (upgrade from the 3-core PowerVR SGX543MP3 in the iPhone 5) and improved LTE. Perhaps the power savings in display will offset the higher power usage needed for this improved hardware. That and a slightly bigger battery.

None of these seem outside of the realm of possibility (which is suspicious), but taken together seem to paint a picture of a dramatically improved iPhone 5S with some pretty incredible sensor improvements.

For those looking at upgrading to the lower cost plastic iPhone, the site also includes shells for those compared to iPhone 5, below (originally from Sonny Dickson):

Fingerprint recognition Stories October 11, 2012

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: expand full story

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