Now that the long-rumored fingerprint scanner is a reality
on the Apple iPhone 5S
, developers are going to have fun writing for the feature, right? Uh, guess again. Apple's Senior VP of Worldwide Marketing, Phil Schiller, says that third party code jockeys will not be getting access to the new Touch ID sensor. The technology will be used to unlock your iPhone 5S and to authenticate purchases made from iTunes.
The scanner, which is part of the home button, uses a sensor that is just 170 microns and scans sub-epidermal skin layers with a 500ppi resolution sensor. Unlike the fingerprint scanner on the Motorola ATRIX 4G
, which turned out to be a huge failure, users don't need to swipe their fingers along a pad on the iPhone 5S. Instead, they merely touch the home button just like they've done for years.
And while Apple might decide in the future to open up the technology to developers, right now it is off limits to them. Apple CEO Tim Cook was talking about other uses for the fingerprint sensor when he said, "You can probably imagine a lot of [other] uses
." Whether we can or can't doesn't matter since for right now, the Touch ID sensor code is closed to the public.