Recently Apple announced its intention to acquire Authentec, a biometric authentication company. Apple was in a real hurry to complete the acquisition and it makes you wonder whether Authentec’s fingerprint authentication technology will make it into the home button of the iPhone 5 and possibly the iPad Mini in the coming months.
If Apple were to integrate the Authentec technology into the home button on the iPhone 5, the iPad Mini, and eventually the iPad 4, then it would not only create a handy way to make the devices easily personalized for multiple users of the same device (or just a simple password-free login for a single user), but purportedly the technology also has the ability to recognize multiple fingers (allowing for the home button to potentially achieve multiple functions), and to serve as authentication for mobile payments (most likely via NFC – Near Field Communications).
That would mean that Apple would add a lot of new functionality with the integration of this tiny piece of hardware, several software updates, and another tiny piece of hardware for NFC. But more importantly, these tiny pieces of hardware and software could make the computing experience more personal, and more naturally personalized as you move around the environment into different applications.
I know it is only a replacement for what could or can be done with a password, but I would love to be able to have apps like Netflix personalized based on whose finger was used.
This could become a great example of flexible design and innovating for the future present if they launch the iPhone 5 with these technologies. That would show that they started the design process with this as only a possibility but decided AFTER the technology looked ready to actually integrate it into the shipping product, and remained flexible enough to integrate the component near the end of the design process – something that is very hard to do, but very powerful.
Are all of these potential innovations ranging from the minor (login) to the transformative (speeding up mobile payment adoption) likely to make the cut for the iPhone 5?
I guess we will wait and see what happens on September 12th.
Braden Kelley is a popular innovation speaker, embeds innovation across the organization with innovation training, and builds B2B pull marketing strategies that drive increased revenue, visibility and inbound sales leads. He is currently advising an early-stage fashion startup making jewelry for your hair and is the author of Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire from John Wiley & Sons. He tweets from @innovate.