New iPad could be latest to add fingerprint security

New evidence has emerged that the new iPad will have fingerprint security built in, as found on the Apple iPhone 5S.

French iOS developer Pierre Blazquez noticed software in a new version of iOS, with a version of Apple’s Touch ID that is compatible with both iPhone and iPad.

The Touch ID fingerprint feature locks the iPhone 5S – providing security against theft – and also authenticates purchases on the device, so it seems logical that any new iPad will also feature the technology.

MacRumors said that the revelation made sense – and tied in with predictions by analysts that a fingerprint-secured version of the Apple iPad would be released this year.

KGI Securities analyst Ming Ching Kuo says, “We previously thought Apple would not release a new iPad mini this year, but we now think Apple will launch an upgraded version with same form factor, A8 processor and Touch ID (fingerprint recognition) to boost shipments of iPad mini with Retina display.”

Apple’s adoption of biometric security in its flagship iPhone 5S has led to competitors such as Samsung adding their own versions. Samsung products can be used to secure mobile payments via PayPal, and analysts believe this could become a lucrative market.

So far, users have had to swipe fingerprints across buttons built into the devices: the Home button in the case of iPhone, or the rear panel in the case of the HTC One Max, but the biometric technology could be built into screens by summer this year, reports have claimed.

CrucialTec, one of the leading manufacturers of biometric readers for mobiles, will bring out scanners built into mobile screens “shortly” and the devices will be built into smartphone screens by July this year, according to a Digital Trends report.

Speaking to the Korea Herald, Charles Ahn, CEO of CrucialTec said that the phones would usher in dramatic changes to the smartphone market. “The new touchscreen panel, known as a matrix-switching touchscreen panel, will bring dramatic change to the market,” Ahn said.

The new screens will also be completely bezel-less, and future versions of the Matrix-Switching Touchscreen Panel (MS-TSP) could include health monitoring sensors built into the panel, according to a Digital Trends report.

The CEO of network specialist Ericsson predicted that biometrics would become “mainstream” in 2014, while the CEO of Swedish biometrics firm Fingerprint Cards predicted that at least seven major smartphone firms, including Samsung, would release handsets incorporating biometric readers this year. The new screens would offer a new level of  ease of use for smartphone biometrics.

Stephen Cobb, Security Researcher with ESET said, when Apple unveiled the fingerprint sensor in Apple’s iPhone 5S, that the device could be a “game changer”.

Cobb said, “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: technologies such as the iPhone 5S could advance biometrics, or put a whole lot of people off biometrics.”

Several start-ups are investigating even more ‘out-there’ methods of biometric authentication, with some using user behavior as a metric, and shipping in the form of apps. Want to know more? Check out We Live Security’s reports on the cutting edge of biometrics and passwords.

Author Rob Waugh, We Live Security

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