This is an extract from an upcoming Goode Intelligence Analyst Report entitled "Mobile & Wearable Biometrics for Authentication Applications"
Apple caught much of the analyst and biometric community by surprise with the announcement that it was to open up its Touch ID fingerprint biometric environment to third-parties using an API at its annual developer conference, WWDC2014, on 1 June 2014.
Apple announced that once iOS 8 launches (possibly September or October 2014) third party developers will be able to access the Touch ID environment and leverage the benefits of mobile fingerprint biometrics.
During the presentation given by Apple's SVP Craig Federighi, Apple referenced Touch ID being used to authenticate into a personal financial application called Mint.
Apple’s Touch ID Local Authentication Framework (LocalAuthentication.framework) will enable third-party app developers to make use of Touch ID and benefit from its convenient personal authentication features.
Touch ID has been a great success for Apple; Apple also announced some stats for its Passcode phone unlock feature at WWDC. 83 percent of users were turning on the Passcode phone lock feature compared with 49 percent of general iOS users. That equates to millions more iOS devices being protected against unauthorised access and a great deterrent to theft.
Apple has been steadily building up its product and software portfolio to offer a wide range of connected services and it appears that they intend to use Touch ID as the foundation for identity verification on the Apple ecosystem.
I believe that Touch ID will be used to authenticate in the following scenarios (some of these are available now and some are predictions):
- To replace the PIN for Passcode (device unlock)
- To provide authentication for Apple ID (iTunes purchases)
- To verify identity for an Apple payments product (both for online and physical store purchases)
- To provide authentication for Apple’s CarPlay in-car service
- To verify identity for Apple’s mobile healthcare solution “Healthkit”
- To provide authentication for Apple’s connected home solution “Homekit"
- This includes the ‘Secure Pairing’ feature where only authorised users can unlock a home door or change the temperature of a room via a smart thermostat
Apple’s vision is to merge the logical and physical worlds using an iDevice (iPhone, iPad or even iWatch) as the smart controller with Touch ID providing convenient biometric authentication for this uber connected world.