iOS devices could gain NFC and fingerprint sensors from AuthenTec

By , Aug 16, 2012

Apple’s unexpected $356 million acquisition of mobile security and smart sensors experts AuthenTec was finalized with an unusual urgency as the transaction will likely result in future iOS devices getting advanced built-in fingerprint and NFC sensors. Furthermore, it would seem Apple’s offer to AuthenTec even included an IP agreement giving Apple rights to use AuthenTec’s patents on an exclusive basis and even license them out to third-parties…

Matt Brian over at The Next Web points to AuthenTec’s SEC filing which says that Apple was the only company among a bunch of possible bidders that showed genuine interest in utilizing a new technology AuthenTec had developed.

Then, amid negotiations Apple informed AuthenTec that it would prefer to close the deal as soon as possible, citing its “product plans and ongoing engineering efforts”.

As a result of its focus on timing, Apple’s representatives also informed the Company that Apple would not participate in an auction process and would rescind its proposal if the board decided to solicit alternative acquisition proposals for the Company.

Note that this is a direct quote from AuthenTec’s SEC filing and as such is not prone to misinterpretation and second guessing.

Apple was so keen to use AuthenTec’s new technology that it wanted the company to continue development regardless of the status of the transaction:

Apple emphasized its requirement that the development of the technology would not be interrupted regardless of whether the proposed transaction was completed. On the evening of July 19, the parties agreed to the key terms of the IP agreement and the development agreement.

Another paragraph from the filing (emphasis mine):

The IP agreement provides Apple with the right to acquire non-exclusive licenses and certain other rights with respect to hardware technology, software technology and patents of the Company for commercialization of 2D fingerprint sensors for use in or with Apple products.

Even more interesting than that, Apple’s offer included a $20 million IP agreement that the author explains would let the company use AuthenTec patents and even license them for up to $115 million.

For the right to acquire such non-exclusive licenses and other rights, Apple will pay us $20.0 million. Apple will have 270 days from the date of the IP agreement to choose, in its sole discretion, to license certain hardware technology and patents and certain software technology and patents from us on a perpetual, non-exclusive basis for an aggregate sum of up to $115.0 million.

Apple can choose to acquire either the non-exclusive hardware technology and patent rights ($90.0 million), the non-exclusive software technology and patent rights ($25.0 million) or both.

It would appear Apple acquired both, judging by the $356 in acquisition money.

AuthenTec used to license its technology to the likes of Lenovo, Fujitsu and Dell. The company also cut a deal recently with Samsung to use its technology to bolster enterprise security in the Galaxy maker’s upcoming Android smartphones and tablets.

Perhaps Samsung would be interested in licensing this technology from Apple?

Whichever way you look at it, Apple is clearly interested in deploying AuthenTec’s smart sensors and (possibly) NFC technology across iOS devices and it’s fair to say that the company is looking beyond enterprise, if numerous patent filings (here, here and here) describing an Apple mobile payment service are anything to go by.

Are you excited about this development?

How do you think Apple could use AuthenTec’ tech in iOS devices, besides letting you unock your iPhone with your fingerprint?

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  • AforAppleAforAndoid

    Future looks bright…can’t wait to see new innovations from Apple :)

    • http://www.youtube.com/Tr1pTr0p Tr1pTr0p

      Motorola Atrix had a fingerprint reader, and NFC is already widely available on Android devices. So I don’t know what innovations you’te talking about. Apple is only playing catch-up with this one.
      They may come up with something we haven’t seen before, tho I kind of doubt it.

      • http://twitter.com/rud0lf77 Rudolf Lichtner

        Why the fuck do you read this Blog, if you hate Apple?!

      • http://www.youtube.com/Tr1pTr0p Tr1pTr0p

        I hate their business practices, their fanboys, but I love most of their products. Big difference. That is why I’m here.

      • AforAppleAforAndoid

        O.K but I got a better site for you
        Phandroid.com

        Have fun Tardroid.

      • http://www.youtube.com/Tr1pTr0p Tr1pTr0p

        Why would I go to that site if I do not have an Android device? You’re making no sense what so ever. You’re saying I don’t have a life, yet you double-reply to my comments. Relax.

      • AforAppleAforAndoid

        You hates Apple & their Fans….Yet you waste your time on Apple fans made Blog.

        You sir have no life

      • http://www.youtube.com/Tr1pTr0p Tr1pTr0p

        I certainly don’t come here for the things I hate (fanboys, such as yourself), but things I love; tweaks and news.

      • AforAppleAforAndoid

        Fandroids are insecure you know

      • http://www.youtube.com/Tr1pTr0p Tr1pTr0p

        I have absolutely no idea how you came to that conclusion.

      • AforAppleAforAndoid

        Go away butt hurt google ass licker.

      • http://www.youtube.com/Tr1pTr0p Tr1pTr0p

        Patheric how this is your fourth reply to me, and yet you call me insecure. You know, I’ve never had the honor to have a conversation with such an intolerant fanboy. Quite an intersting experience.

      • No more Obama

        get a life tr1p…you are not wanted here. go away apple hater

      • http://twitter.com/iMosa3da iMosa3da

        Common guys, let anyone be here, what the hell is the problem, you’re not affected on what he’s saying, just shut up and let him say anything he want

      • No more Obama

        can you “shut up” and let me say anything i want? haha

  • http://twitter.com/JoeCoxon Joe Coxon

    I really hope they put fingerprint sensors into the phones and ipads. I’ve been looking for a more secure but less annoying way of unlocking my phone for ages and this seems to be the perfect solution.

    It gets pretty annoying having to input a number every time you want to use your phone, and if anyone is looking it’s very easy to see and remember the code. 4 digit pins are great for things like ATMs because there’s only you there and you can cover the buttons easily. But it just isn’t practical on a phone that you’re using all day every day.

    Fingerprint sensors would just be perfect for this problem. It would make the upgrade a must for me and im pretty surprised it hasn’t happened already!

    • Dan

      Took the words right out of my mouth, exactly the reason I don’t use a password and would love to see this technology implemented into an eventual iPhone.

  • http://twitter.com/T1rell T1rell

    hmm..a computing device with all you personal data on it, linked to social networks, with even more personal information, plus a camera facing your way at all times with a gps chip, tracking your every move. take all of that and put in a fingerprint scanner and you get the best spy-and controlling device imaginable, well maybe next to a chip in the neck that is. George Orwell anybody?

  • http://www.facebook.com/jonathan.duong.583 Jonathan Duong

    c’mon guys can’t we all get along? i mean we can have BOTH ios and android and love both equally (or prefer some features over the other)

  • dady king

    Fighting on OS .. Doesn’t make sense.. Choice is yours .. Company makes product for customer user satisfaction.. So don’t fight like a f***ing retard f00ls .. Don’t make he’ll out of graveyard :-) ..

  • http://twitter.com/adhithyagokul Adhithya Gokul

    Seriously guys why is there a fight between iOS and Android in each and every post. Apple and Samsung fight it out and it’s understandable as they are competetors but why do users fight . I love my iPhone and no Android user can change my opinion . If someone loves their Android it’s their right and you cant change their opinion . Why do you guys want to convince someone else that your device or OS is the best . Does it do you any good ?? Use whichever phone you like and please stop bitching and fighting . You guys just own the device not the company itself