Thumb-scanners on the iPhone

November 13, 2013
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People around the world seem to go mad every time Apple announces the imminent release of their next iPhone. The 5s was scheduled for a limited release on September 20, 2013, along with its lower-end counterpart, iPhone 5c. So what could we expect of these latest must-have handhelds?

Firstly, it’s safe to say that their new hardware will probably save its lucky owner a few tenths of a second in loading time when an app is fired up. Also, the Maps app has to be up to par. Those who bought the ancestral 4s will remember how frustrating it was to see highways looking like water ripples, a missing Statue of Liberty, and an entire nation was more or less wiped off the face of the Earth – Japan.

Calling Tom Thumb!

The latest feature to come with the 5s implements biometrics technology that’s been around for years. Instead of swiping your finger across the screen to enter your pin code, you simply press your thumb against it long enough for the print software to recognize you as the rightful owner.

This may sound like a genius solution to those who find it hard to remember passwords; it may also sound like a great idea to stop people from stealing phones with this technology. Pause for a second and give this some serious thought. Take a deep breath and strap yourself in because you are about to be hit with some knowledge about biometrics.

Anyone who’s ever seen an episode of CSI will know how easy it is to find and lift fingerprints. You can even learn how to do this on YouTube. The problem with your fingerprint is that it’s uniquely yours. If you forget your password you can always request a new one, your print can never be replaced. Once it’s out there, it’s out there forever. Think about how many different objects you touch every day, and you’ll soon realize that you leave your “password” behind in dozens of locations.

Less technologically advanced muggers may also bring a hacksaw along to remove the “password” from your hand, thereby adding some serious salt to the wound of losing your phone. Two lost phones later, when you’re using your eight remaining digits to answer security questions about your mother’s maiden name, your least favorite subject in school, or where you went on your first date, don’t you think you would have been better off without biometrics?

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