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Aug 15, 2013 11:50 AM EDT

iPhone 6 Fingerprint Scanner Sparks Market Growth for Technology Companies


As rumors swirl about Apple's next iPhone having fingerprint recognition features, makers of the technology are preparing for other smartphone makers to do the same, Bloomberg reported.

Apple purchased Authentec, a fingerprint sensor maker, last year for $350 million and many experts, such as ABI Research and KGI Securities Co., believe the technology will be included on the next iPhone, reportedly ready for an unveiling in one month.

"Apple is giving a strong indication that market leaders see biometrics as part of their roadmap," said fingerprint sensor maker Precise Biometrics AB CEO Thomas Marschall. "All competitors are looking for alternatives to match Apple -- it's the kickoff of a rally in the industry."

Since Apple's acquisition of Authentec, the stock market for other companies has benefitted greatly. In that span, Precise Biometrics' shares have doubled and Fingerprint Cards AB has increased ten times what it was.

Fingerprint recognition could replace passwords and signatures on mobile devices and Apple could help give the technology a boost, like it did with touch screens in 2007. Users could unlock their phone, access various files and even make payments much quicker.

With fingerprint recognition comes a whole new field of possibilities, such as facial recognition, retina scanning, digital passports and even tattoo recognition. Gemalto NV, Morpho and Oberthur Technologies are all currently developing technology to replace ID cards, passports and even to pay for subway fares.

Morpho issues driver's licenses for 42 U.S. states and also works for Chile and Albania. The company has helped certain customers catch criminals with tattoo recognition technology.

"We used to make ID cards and passports," said Morpho's founder Bernard Didier. "Today we're asking: Why not use your ID for transport, social security or even payments?"

Oman, a client of Gemalto, has already loaded parking and speeding tickets to its digital ID cards.

"Electronic passports are only the tip of the iceberg," Olivier Piou, CEO of Gemalto, said in a previous interview. "Any chip in an ID card comes loaded with secure software containing some credentials and some empty spots. We can fill those later with all sorts of new applications."

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