New iPad will add iPhone 5S-style fingerprint scanner, leaked picture hints

Apple has announced an event for October 22, with the usual teasing headline, “We still have a lot to cover.” Leaked pictures hint that at least one of those things will be an iPad protected by the Fingerprint ID system used in iPhone 5S.

The invitations, sent out to journalists on Tuesday, merely confirm an event at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena conference center at 10am on Tuesday next week – but it’s considered a near-certainty that Apple will update its ageing iPad range, according to The Register.

A picture which surfaced on Chinese news site CTechCN showed a device with a Home button which mirrored the distinctive shape of iPhone 5S’s fingerprint-reading button,  according to a CNET report.

The image is a typically blurred and indistinct smartphone shot purportedly leaked from a Chinese supplier, but the move would make sense, according to CNET. “Perhaps Apple will keep Touch ID away from the mini, but bring it to the larger iPad, as a way to reward shoppers who splash out on the bigger, pricier tablet,” the site wrote.

Despite repeated attempts to “hack” the security sensor, Apple’s move appears to have inspired other handset manufacturers. HTC’s One Max – a bigger, 5.9-inch screen version of its flagship Android handset – also offers fingerprint authentication, and was unveiled at a press conference in China this week according to the BBC.

“The fingerprint scanner allows users to lock or unlock the screen and quickly launch up to three favourite applications by assigning an individual finger to each,” the Taiwanese company said in a statement.

Last week, a report from USA Today said that a standardized fingerprint security system for Android devices, certified by the FIDO (Fast Identity Online) Alliance, would be available shortly after the new year.

Stephen Cobb, Security Researcher with ESET, says that we may be on the verge of widespread deployment of biometrics. Cobb says, “Successful implementation of biometrics in a segment leading product could bode well for consumer acceptance.”

“I have been a fan of biometrics as an added authentication factor ever since I first researched multi-factor and 2FA systems 20 years ago, however, user adoption is very sensitive to performance; in other words the iPhone 5S and subsequent devices could advance biometrics, or put a whole lot of people off biometrics.”

Various other start-ups are working on systems which ID users via brain waves, heart beats and even the way they walk. WeLiveSecurity explores some of these ideas in a feature here.

Author Rob Waugh, We Live Security

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