updated 05:48 pm EDT, Mon September 24, 2012
Samsung, HP, Lenovo among affected parties
Fingerprint technology company AuthenTec will be cutting off all of its non-Apple customers starting in 2013, a Korean report says. This includes companies like Samsung, HP, Dell, Lenovo, and Fujitsu. Apple bought out AuthenTec in July, and as is normally the case for the company, the acquisition appears to have been solely to support its own products. AuthenTec clients are allegedly "in a state of panic" about the situation, since they now have to find alternate suppliers for fingerprint scanning.
The specifics of what Apple has in mind for AuthenTec are unknown. A recent SEC filing, however, indicated that the company is after "2D fingerprint sensors for use in or with Apple products." Future Macs and iOS devices could therefore have built-in scanners, improving security while eliminating the need to use measures like passcodes.
Apple may be especially interested in the idea if it follows through on rumored NFC/e-wallet plans, since it would reduce the risk of a stolen iPhone being used to rack up charges. While NFC has failed to materialize in an iPhone for a second year in a row, Apple may already being laying the groundwork with Passbook, a ticketing/coupon app included with iOS 6.