Apple paid $356 million to buy AuthenTec Inc, a company that creates high-tech fingerprint authentication products.
According to a securities filing, Apple was hurrying the deal in late July, according to the Los Angeles Times. From the Securities and Exchange Commission filing:
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Representatives of Apple also noted Apple’s desire to proceed quickly due to 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.
Although the company never specifically singles out the fingerprint technology, it does specify intellectual property and patents -- one of which is a "smart sensor" that picks up the "live layer" of skin so it can read fingerprints even when calloused, dry or oily, ensuring accuracy. The technology also allows you to assign different fingers to do different functions. That means people could "securely launch eBay (including user log-in and password) by swiping their index finger, launch Yahoo with their thumb, or speed dial their spouse with a swipe of their ring finger."
Whoa! That's a bit high-tech even for Apple, right? The rumors are that this technology is going to appear on the new iPhone, which would make its capabilities much more interesting.