Ina Fried

Recent Posts by Ina Fried

iPhone Developers Won’t Get Fingerprint-Reader Authentication Option — For Now, Anyway

Perhaps the most surprising thing about the fingerprint reader on the iPhone 5s is the fact that it can only be used to do two things — unlock the phone and verify iTunes purchases.

iphonefingerprint380

Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller confirmed to AllThingsD that developers won’t get access to use a fingerprint as a means of authentication. He declined to comment on whether that might come in the future.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based company also said that it won’t be storing fingerprints on its servers.

Apple acquired fingerprint-reading technology from its purchase last year of AuthenTec. The Touch ID sensor introduced with the iPhone 5s can read a fingerprint using a sensor smaller than a human hair, and is capable of reading fingerprints below the skin surface at 500 pixels per inch.

Asked by AllThingsD whether Apple might expand its own use of the fingerprint reader over time, Apple CEO Tim Cook didn’t offer any specifics, but said, “You can probably imagine a lot of [other] uses.”

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik