Apple acquires AuthenTec, tech behind Contact ID

July 28: Today in Apple history: Apple acquires AuthenTec, the company behind Touch ID

July 28, 2012: Apple buys biometrics firm AuthenTec, buying the expertise that may energy future authentication and safe funds initiatives.

With a price ticket of $356 million, the deal provides Apple the proper to make use of AuthenTec {hardware}, software program and patents. Within the quick time period, Apple engineers begin working to construct Contact ID sensors into the iPhone 5s. Longer-term, AuthenTec’s cell pockets tech paves the way in which for Apple Pay.

iPhone fingerprint sensor: A very long time within the making

Though the dream of utilizing fingerprint sensors on smartphones had been round for some time, AuthenTec’s expertise didn’t work fairly as deliberate at first. Talking in 2013, firm co-founder F. Scott Moody recalled how an early demo for IBM went improper within the worst potential means: It mistook IBM’s chief expertise officer for the opposite AuthenTec co-founder.

Nonetheless, as soon as adjustments have been made and a last product was exhibited, it didn’t take lengthy for corporations together with Motorola, Fujitsu and Apple to make overtures relating to a possible buyout. Apple in the end gained.

Nonetheless, Motorola truly beat Apple to {the marketplace} by two years when its Mobility Atrix 4G shipped with a fingerprint sensor in 2011. However whereas Motorola’s expertise labored fairly effectively, it proved lower than intuitive. The fingerprint scanner resided on the telephone’s again. And customers wanted to swipe it quite than merely contact it for authentication.

AuthenTec tech makes Contact ID higher

Apple’s Contact ID resolution, however, wasn’t simply safe. It proved very speedy as effectively — significantly faster and simpler than tapping in even a brief, four-digit PIN.

“The most important factor Apple will get out of that is in all probability a powerful play for utilizing biometrics for identification typically — for on-line and brick-and-mortar purchases, for logging into web sites and even for digital signatures,” Cult of Mac wrote on the time of the AuthenTec acquisition.

Contact ID arrived on the iPhone 5s in 2013, used initially solely to unlock the handset. A yr later, for the launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, Apple expanded Contact ID’s usefulness. Abruptly the fingerprint sensor labored to authenticate iTunes and App Retailer purchases through Apple Pay.

Contact ID and the way forward for Apple biometrics

With the launch of Face ID, the facial recognition function Apple rolled out in 2017 with the iPhone X, it appears the times of Contact ID are largely at an finish. (Though Contact ID lives on with the present iPhone SE.) Nonetheless, the expertise kick-started the period of biometric safety methods at Apple — and will certainly be remembered due to that.

What did you consider Contact ID the primary time you noticed or used it? Are you cheerful that it’s been changed on newer iPhones? Go away your feedback and recollections beneath.

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