fingerprint sensor Stories July 21, 2015

Touch ID built into iPhone display one step closer as third-party company announces new tech

The possibility of Apple embedding the Home button into the display of a future iPhone model got a step closer today as a third-party company announced technology that allows fingerprints to be read through Gorilla Glass.

TNW reports that Sonavation has developed ultrasonic fingerprint sensors capable of 3D scanning from beneath the Gorilla Glass Apple uses for its iPhone displays.

Though details on how it will work are sparse, Sonovation says its sensors are “capable of capturing fingerprint data into the ridges and valleys.” It also says 3D scanning can take place if a finger is wet, dirty or oily — all without compromising accuracy.

There’s nothing to suggest any link between Apple and Sonavation – this is merely an indication that the type of technology required to replace a physical Home button with an embedded one is already out there. A sketchy report last month suggested that Apple is working on this type of technology.

Don’t look for this in the iPhone 6S, though. While a recent leak confirmed our report that the new iPhone would get Force Touch, it also revealed that the external appearance of the phone will be almost identical to the iPhone 6.

Concept image: Martin Hajek for Computer Bild

fingerprint sensor Stories October 2, 2013

ipadfinger2

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 sensor Stories September 25, 2013

The German hacker who successfully defeated Touch ID using a fingerprint lifted from the back of an iPhone has posted a video showing exactly how it was done.

While the hacker – who goes by the nickname Starbug – described the attack as “very straightforward and trivial,” he revealed in an email interview with arsTechnica that it required 30 hours of work using a scanner, high-res laserprinter and a printed circuit board etching kit.

It took me nearly 30 hours from unpacking the iPhone to a [bypass] that worked reliably. With better preparation it would have taken approximately half an hour. I spent significantly more time trying to find out information on the technical specification of the sensor than I actually spent bypassing it.

I was very disappointed, as I hoped to hack on it for a week or two. There was no challenge at all; the attack was very straightforward and trivial.

Should 5s owners worry that, now that the technique is known, it could be replicated in 30 mins? The answer is ‘it depends, but probably not’ …  expand full story

fingerprint sensor Stories September 19, 2013

More than $15k in rewards offered to crack Apple’s iPhone 5s TouchID fingerprint sensor

As noted by BusinessInsider, a number of security researchers and other hackers have come together to offer rewards to the first person that can “reliably and repeatedly break into an iPhone 5s” through bypassing the new TouchID fingerprint sensor feature. They aren’t looking for a software hack, however, but instead want hackers to break into the device by lifting prints, “like from a beer mug.”

It’s not exactly a legit contest, as the creators of the site are only claiming responsibility for their own bounty offers. Their bounties come out to around just $200 of the approximately $20k in pledges listed on the site.

In order to collect, you’ll have to have video proof of the process. The site’s creator explained in the “terms and conditions,” which is actually just a series of tweets:

All I ask is a video of the process from print, lift, reproduction and successful unlock with reproduced print. I’ll put money on this… Enroll print, Place it, lift it, reproduce it, use the reproduction to unlock the phone without being locked out… satisfactory video evidence of the print enrollment, lift, reproduction and successful application of the print without locking out will do.

While there’s no way of telling if most of those offering bounties will actually payout, the largest pledge comes from IOCapital for $10K:

https://twitter.com/Arturas/status/380748248589148161

Apple said at the introduction of the iPhone 5s that “all fingerprints will be encrypted, stored securely and never uploaded to iCloud or its own servers,” but there have been a few questions surrounding how Apple’s new TouchID fingerprint sensor works.  Earlier this month Apple addressed security concerns and noted some features to prevent hacking of the fingerprint sensor:

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.

You can check out all of the bounties being offered and learn more through the istouchidhackedyet.com site. 

fingerprint sensor Stories September 17, 2013

a7

Touch ID is far, far more important than most people have realised – the core message behind a Quora post by the CEO of a card payment service. We can expect to learn far more “in the next few months, and that’s likely to eventually include both Touch ID Macs and use of the fingerprint system for mobile payments.

In the torrent of the billions of words already written about Touch ID very, very few people have really understood just how revolutionary this really is.  Apple not only has developed one of the most accurate mass produced biometric security devices, they have also solved critical problems with how the data from this device will be encrypted, stored and secured.

Brian Roemmele, CEO of 1st American Card Service, said that Apple’s attempt to solve the problem of how to develop a truly secure access system goes all the way back to a patent application in 2008, but it was only through the A7 chip – specifically created by ARM with mobile payment security in mind – that the company finally had a gold-standard solution. And its applications will go far beyond iPhone unlock and iTunes purchases …  expand full story

fingerprint sensor Stories September 16, 2013

iphone-5s-smalliPhone 5s schematic, click to enlarge. 5c below

Apple has updated it guidelines (PDF) for case manufacturers to include specific requirements and schematics for the iPhone 5s and 5c. As expected, the 5s schematics are similar to the iPhone 5 since the outer shell is largely unchanged.

The 5c design is more distinct from the 5, because while the internal layout is nearly identical, the exterior plastic casing is very different. See below for the 5c’s schematics.

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fingerprint sensor Stories September 11, 2013

A small surprise yesterday during Apple’s introduction of the new iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s was the launch of new cases for the devices. The iPhone 5s gets a new leather case in six colors, and the 5c gets colourful silicone cases with small circular cutouts meant to show off the iPhone’s color underneath. The silicone 5c cases don’t seem to be getting the best response following yesterday’s unveiling, but the good news is there are already several reputable case manufacturers with cases available for both the iPhone 5c and 5s.

Screen Shot 2013-09-11 at 2.39.53 PMThe biggest complaint (apart from comparisons to crocs) seems to be lack of attention to detail, highlighted best in the image of the “iPhone” text to the right.  If Apple’s new cases won’t cut it, below we’ve put together a roundup of the best cases from around the web that are already available to order and coming soon for the launch of the device later this month.  expand full story

fingerprint sensor Stories September 10, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-09-10 at 2.26.24 PM

Apple has just posted a new video introducing the technology behind Touch ID, the new fingerprint-reading technology in the iPhone 5s. There’s also a video about the updated camera in the iPhone 5s.

Some real life usage of the feature can be seen in the Vine below.

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Manuel-iPhone-5S

According to Nowhereelse.fr,  this is a photo of the iPhone 5S user guide. The pamphlet shows an iPhone with a gray ring around the round home button, which matches previous descriptions of the iPhone 5S’ fingerprint sensor. The guide refers to this button as a “Home Button/Touch ID sensor”. This suggests that Apple will brand the 5S’ fingerprint sensor clearly as a means of identification.

This corroborates with 9to5Mac’s reporting. We have said on multiple occasions that the fingerprint sensor will likely only be used as a means of unlock. In our roundup, we describe how the system will work:

To unlock the iPhone with the fingerprint reader, an iPhone 5S user simply clicks and holds their finger/thumb down on the sensor for a few seconds. It is unlikely that the sensor login and passcode could be used in tandem. There will be a preference in the iPhone’s Settings app to disable the sensor.

This description of the process pairs nicely with the branding ‘Touch ID’, as it literally describes what happens; unlocking will be activated by a touch-and-hold of your finger on the Home Button.

It should also be noted that this guide matches the leaked user guides for the iPhone 5C, with the same color-matched wallpaper design.

Apple will formally announce the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C at its September event, scheduled for 10 AM PST. Banners at Apple’s Town Hall, the venue for the announcements, went up yesterday.

fingerprint sensor Stories September 6, 2013

iPhone 5S

Update: C Technology has provided higher quality versions of the images above, which can be seen in the gallery at the bottom.

Only days away from Apple’s September 10th iPhone event, new photos have come out  which claim to show the box for the upcoming iPhone 5S. The same site has also leaked alleged photos of iPhone 5C packaging in the past. Notable here is the tweaked home button design, which appears to ditch the iconic inset square in favor of a ring around the edge.

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fingerprint sensor Stories September 3, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-09-03 at 10.53.07 AM

New photos coming out today claim to show the flex cable and home button for the upcoming iPhone 5S. Although labeled as an iPhone 5C flex cable, this image points to an iPhone 5S part, not 5C. Of note here is the drastically different design when compared to both the iPhone 5 home button assembly and earlier iPhone 5S leaks, pointing to support for the much rumored fingerprint sensor...

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fingerprint sensor Stories August 25, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-08-25 at 11.24.28 AM

As Apple’s iPhone 5S event approaches, some new details about the new device’s internals are emerging. Clayton Morris has claimed on Twitter that the iPhone 5S’s A7 processor is “running at about 31% faster” than the iPhone 5’s A6 chip. The iPhone 5’s A6 chip is dual-core, and it seems like the iPhone 5S will also remain dual-core.

However, there could be a major differentiator: 64-bit. We’ve independently heard claims that some of the iPhone 5S internal prototypes include 64-bit processors.

It’s unclear if 64-bit will make the cut, but it’s been in testing. We’re told that the 64-bit processing will assist the A7 chip in making animations, transparencies, and other iOS 7 graphical effects appear much more smoothly than on existing iOS Devices…

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fingerprint sensor Stories August 6, 2013

Fingerprint sensors the new black for smartphones as Korean firm Pantech launches the first

Fingerprint sensors are starting to look like the new must-have smartphone feature as Korean firm Pantech launches its first, ahead of the long-rumored fingerprint sensor for the iPhone 5S.

There have also been conflicting rumors that the LG G2, due for launch tomorrow, will or won’t have a fingerprint sensor – we’ll soon find out.

A fingerprint sensor first appeared in early models of the Motorola Atrix 2 back in 2011, but was later removed by Motorola.

If you’ve never heard of Pantech, by the way, that’s because it makes phones almost exclusively for its domestic Korean market, where it’s actually second only to Samsung (but ahead of LG).

fingerprint sensor Stories July 18, 2013

Credit: Apple/USPTO

Credit: Apple/USPTO

An Apple patent published today suggests that the long-rumored fingerprint sensor for the iPhone 5S may be built into the phone’s screen, rather than the home button, as had been previously suggested (via CNET).

A fingerprint sensor has been one of the two most persistent rumors for a distinguishing feature for the 5S, the other being NFC. A combination of the two as has been recently suggested – using a fingerprint to verify purchases as well as unlock the device – would certainly be a killer feature, though it’s worth noting that Apple isn’t generally an early adopter of new technologies like cardless payments. Fingerprint sensors themselves are a mature tech, with rumors of iPhone inclusion dating back to Apple’s acquisition of mobile security specialists AuthenTec last year …

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fingerprint sensor Stories April 8, 2013

Fingerprint-scannerA new job listing on Apple.com could add fire to the rumors that Apple is considering including fingerprint technology in upcoming devices.

The job posting seeking a software engineer to write “low-level code to configure and control hardware” is the only listing on Apple’s site located at the “Melbourne Design Center” in Melbourne, Florida. Not only is the position looking for someone familiar with testing various sensors with LabTool and FA software, but Melbourne is also the home base of Authentec, the company Apple acquired fingerprint technology from last year for around $365 million.  expand full story

fingerprint sensor Stories February 1, 2013

iPhone5S-9to5-Feb2013

There have been many rumors this year about what upgrades Apple will include in its anticipated annual iPhone refresh. Most agree Apple will move to release two iPhones, but there is some debate about what those phones will be.

Rumor has it that Apple is working on a low-cost iPhone that will do away with the current iPhone design and instead use a new plastic case with a curved back similar to previous iPods. Despite being a less expensive device, that could make things even trickier for Apple to impress with an iPhone 5S upgrade that is largely expected to retain the “old” design of the currently shipping iPhone 5. The devices from competitors are making things even more difficult for Apple’s expected “S” upgrade. Rumors of a 4.8-inch iPhone prototype that recently surfaced don’t seem likely for the next iPhone, but that hasn’t stopped mainstream media and analysts from reporting that Apple is losing out on iPhone sales as consumers opt for larger screen devices. However, that might now be the case, at least not in the United States, with Strategy Analytics and NPD estimating Apple beat Samsung to become the No.1 phone vendor in Q4 2012. Will consumers want or expect a larger screen on the next iPhone, or will Apple’s usual minor refresh suffice?

What did past S upgrades have? expand full story

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