With just two days to go for Apple's (AAPL) Sept. 12 event, rumor mills are working overtime as speculations of Apple's much-awaited next generation iPhone sporting fingerprint security feature make the rounds.
The rumor gains traction as Apple is planning to acquire AuthenTec (AUTH), a company specializing in finger print scanning in October that suggests the technology may be used to improve security in the best-selling phone, the Guardian reported.
Reportedly, the AuthenTec Board is expected to approve a $US 365 million acquisition by Apple when it meets on Oct. 4. This is said to be a large ticket acquisition ever so far in Apple's history.
News of the next generation iPhone, often referred to as iPhone 5 which is expected to be unveiled at the Sept.12 event, sporting the fingerprint security first appeared in the Next Web.
Reports from the publication also cited Apple's acquisition of AuthenTec as the possible reason for the feature appearing in the new handset.
AuthenTec specializes in mobile phone security and is reportedly developing 2D fingerprint sensors for Apple, according to the merger documents. The two companies were holding talks from late 2011 and there are suggestions that the hi-tech sensors could appear as an eye-catching feature in iPhone 5.
And the report goes on to state that if fingerprint scanning does not feature in this year's handset release, it will appear in next year's iPhone launch that usually occurs in the month of September.
The development contracts reveal that AuthenTec has signed an agreement with Apple that runs till September 2013 that appears to be in time for the iPhone launch, next year.
While appearance of fingerprint scanning remains a subject of speculation, the confirmed aspect of news happens to be Apple's introduction of a service by name "Passbook," along with iOS 6 phone software.
Reportedly, Apple has confirmed that Passbook will store coupons, loyalty cards and airline boarding passes. Time, date and location data attributes will be employed to make the passes appear on the handset home screen, so that they can be scanned by checkout staff.
The confirmed reports state that airlines including American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Virgin Australia and United Airlines provide mobile phone boarding via Passbook.
In fact, a spokesperson for American Airlines that allows mobile boarding passes on its own app confirmed to industry blog Skift that it would roll out an app update shortly in support of Passbook.
AuthenTec's fingerprint technology is already employed on Android phones from Fujitsu. The technology is employed with the Near Field Communication (NFC) attribute of the OS, according to the Guardian.
Art Stewart, an executive with AuthenTec, noted in a recent blog post: "The real sweet spot for today's smart sensor is the NFC-enabled smartphone, where the smart sensor not just strengthens security but greatly increases the speed and convenience of mobile payment transactions. It accomplishes this by reducing multiple steps into one simple user action."
Meanwhile, AuthenTec scrip (AUTH) closed flat Sept.7 at $8.03 with no change from its previous close, while Apple (AAPL) closed Sept.7 at $680.44, up $4.17 and 0.62 percent higher than the previous close.
To contact the editor, e-mail: