AuthenTec Smart Sensor Coming to an iPhone Near You

Apple's latest acquisition may have more to do with future iPhones than previously thought. A report from The Next Web indicates that Apple wanted AuthenTec's technology for its products as quickly as possible from the $356 million deal.

AuthenTec smart sensor

The deal is indeed impressive, including fingerprint sensors, touchchips and other security technologies, and includes provisions for AuthenTec's patents. The new information comes thanks to paperwork filed with the SEC to notify shareholders about the details ahead of voting to go ahead with the plan.

One of the fun parts of the filing reads:

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.

That's right, 2D fingerprint sensors. Imagine an iPhone home button that would know you were trying to view your home screen, and not someone else. No more passcodes!

Not only this, but Apple could have big plans for AuthenTec in the NFC payment arena. iOS 6 will launch with Passbook, Apple's signature application for tracking a digital wallet. Adding wireless payment options would not be a stretch with AuthenTec components built into a future iPhone.

There is some speculation that Apple needed to complete a deal quickly to incorporate AuthenTec technologies into the next generation iPhone. It's not clear whether or not the company would have had time for this, considering the engineering lead time required. iPhone fans will have to wait until September to find out if the AuthenTec acquisition will result in changes to the iPhone 5.