Is iPhone 5S death-knell for passwords?

Though there have been a number of devices that incorporate fingerprint scanning technology (most notably, niche laptop models), the iPhone 5S is the device that will bring this technology to the mainstream. And, in doing so, will inspire other device manufacturers to rush their version of this technology to market.

With its move, Apple could end up making the technology commonplace, as rivals might feel compelled to follow suit. It could be only a matter of time before passwords and passcodes are relegated to yesteryear.


  • MrPhotoEd

    Samsung, start your copy machines, it is time to “innovate”. Just a thought

  • Herding_sheep

    Its gonna be interesting to see if these other companies will be able to develop an implementation that works as reliably and seamlessly as Authentecs/Apples design, WITHOUT infringing their patents.

    I think the best they can hope for is the old biometrics technology of yesteryear that failed to catch on due to its poor performance. Authentecs capacitive technology truly is a breakthrough in the field, which is exactly why Apple paid so much for them.

    Its funny, because in Authentecs documents during the acquisition, they mention shopping the tech around to all the other tech companies, and nobody else was interested. NOW all of a sudden they probably will

  • KookleFirst

    I am thinking the new 5s Touch ID might not be a good idea. If you come to think of it, it is really unsecure in a different way. When you are sleeping, someone (maybe your spouse) can take your 5s and hold your finger to unlock the phone. People can rob your 5s on the street, punch you in the face, and grab your finger to unlock the phone. They do not need to make you to give them the password any more, they can just use force. And if you have conflict with the authorities, they can easily unlock your phone after they handcuffed you. And when you are drunk in a bar, any one car unlock your 5s.

    • You get that drunk in bars?

    • gjgustav

      People could threaten you until you enter your password anyway. The threat is a lot easier than punching you in the face. People could look over your shoulder in public, see you enter your code, and then snatch your phone. People could wait until you unlock your phone and grab it from you.

      The myth here is that you personally are being targeted. Unless you are an important person (defence contractor CEO, politician, etc.) nobody is going to try to get at your data. It’s not worth it. People who want the general public’s data do it in bulk, by hacking web sites and phishing/spamming them. It’s a lot easier, quicker (per person), and safer.

      That’s why TouchID is billed as a convenience feature, not a security feature.

  • TheBreen

    Marcia Hofmann had an interesting article on Wired today about the 5th Amendment (US) implications of Touch ID versus a traditional passcode. I don’t think passwords or passcodes will be going out of style any time soon.

  • Luis F. Vidal

    I think fingerprint is less secure than passwords if both things aren’t used at the same time.

    I mean, you can store a password in your head and nobody can know it at all. There’s no way to take that out of your brain unless you are tortured or receive a menace you can’t refuse. But fingerprints are there, in your fingers, at the easy access of a criminal. Even not a criminal, your children, wife, a ‘friend’ can unlock it just with a simple touch when you are sleep. And in case of very bad criminals, for them is nothing to cut your finger if necessary to accomplish they’re crime.

  • Dave

    It won’t be just the iPhone 5S, I’d be very surprised if at least one of the new iPads that are coming in October doesn’t have a fingerprint sensor. And then there’s the new MacBook Pros. We’ve all been waiting for a Haswell CPU update, what if Apple wasn’t holding off to ship with Mavericks, but also waiting for the iPhone 5S with fingerprint scanner to be announced. They could potentially build a scanner into the trackpad. They could put it everywhere – the Magic Mouse, the Magic Trackpad, etc.

    I’d be surprised if fingerprint scanners aren’t quickly rolled out to most of Apple’s products. When Touch ID is ubiquitous across Apple hardware then that will be the true death-knell for passwords – at least for Apple users. And also assuming that it’s as secure as Apple says it is.

  • samdchuck

    It will be a death-knell for not using some form of security. Never bothered to put a pin on my iPhone, way to cumbersome. If it works a s advertised I will definitely be using it.

    I wouldn’t want to use biometric security on any type of internet related security. A ton of companies can’t properly secure passwords and credit card information on their servers, no way I trust them with any type of biometric information. (I know Apple doesn’t store it online which is why I’ll be using it.)