Even as AuthenTec’s board of directors appears to moving toward approval of Apple’s$356 million acquisition of the fingerprint sensor chip company, a new report suggests that Apple is also drawing on other expertise to assist with its mobile payments effort.According to The Australian (subscription required), Apple has signed a deal to work with Australian firm Microlatch on similar fingerprint recognition technology for integration with mobile payments via near field communications (NFC).
Word of the deal comes from David Murray, former head of the Commonwealth Bank and a lead investor in Microlatch.
Mr Murray said the company had an agreement with the notoriously secretive Apple to develop fingerprint technology for use in near-field communications applications.
Microlatch has patented fingerprint identification technology that meets banking security standards without the need for central processing or storage; a process Mr Murray described as “self-registering”.
Details on Apple’s partnership with Microlatch remain unknown, but it is clear that Apple is interested in fingerprint recognition and mobile payment technology. The company has, however, been employing a “go-slow approach” to mobile payments as it examines the potential of the technology and toys with various options for implementing it.
NFC has been a relatively frequent topic for rumors in relation to the iPhone, with some expecting that it might even make it into the 2011 version of the device. Despite numerous rumors about NFC peaking in early 2011, Apple elected not to include it in the iPhone 4S and even decided against bringing NFC to the redesigned iPhone 5 this year.