Louis Bedigian, Benzinga Staff Writer
Last week it was revealed that Apple (AAPL) had filed a patent that could bring additional features to the iPhone 5S' fingerprint scanner.
That, however, is just the tip of the iceberg. While the scanner was originally employed to bring a new degree of security to smartphones, Apple could do so much more.
In August, ABG Sundal Collier analyst Per Lindberg told Benzinga that he believed that Apple acquired AuthenTec to become the "champion of mobile commerce."
"They probably want to integrate [fingerprint scanning] closely with the App Store," he said. "But that's why they bought AuthenTec last year. It's part of the strategy."
Right now, the fingerprint scanner has one key feature: it allows users to unlock their phones without entering a passcode.
Apple could take this one step further and allow multiple users -- on multiple devices -- to be identified in this regard.
Imagine a future iPad that immediately loaded certain features or apps the minute that a user touches the home button. Then, when another user touches the home button, the device would swap those apps/feature out for the current user's preferences.
It's a minor tweak, but it's the kind of seamless feature that Apple is known for producing.
Fresh App Concepts And Cool Gimmicks
How much can a user do with his or her fingerprint?
Apple could find out. In fact, the company could re-engineer AuthenTec's features to differentiate between body parts.
As it stands, the fingerprint scanner can already be used to scan more than fingers. Even cats can unlock the iPhone!
But it is unclear if the iPhone 5S can actually determine which body part is being scanned. If it can, there are dozens of cool/gimmicky apps that could be developed.
There has been a lot of speculation that Apple will revamp the mobile healthcare industry with new features added to its devices.
As the firm's biometric technology evolves, these elements could theoretically make their way to the iPhone's home button.
Disclosure: At the time of this writing, Louis Bedigian had no position in the equities mentioned in this report.