back to article Nexus 6 would have had a fingerprint reader, but Apple RUINED IT ALL

The former CEO of Motorola Mobility says the company's Nexus 6 phablet would have been a nicer piece of kit, were it not for Apple's inteference. Speaking in an interview with The Telegraph, Dennis Woodside said that his company was in the process of putting a fingerprint reader on its newest six-inch phone when Cook & Co …

  1. asdf Silver badge

    I wonder

    I glanced at that article linked too but does that US ruling at least require the cops have to get a warrant to make you provide your fingers (they did that case but it doesn't say if its required)? Common sense would say yes but we are dealing with the US justice system so probably not, or as usual only if you are white with money and good lawyers.

    1. gnasher729 Silver badge

      Re: I wonder

      1. It requires a warrant. 2. If you don't unlock the iPhone for a while, the fingerprint alone won't unlock it anymore. The passcode is needed as well. So if you think the cops are getting a warrant for your iPhone, don't unlock it.

  2. Khaptain Silver badge
    Devil

    Microsoft, Google and Apple - all guilty megaopolies

    The phenomenal sums of money available to both of these companies has reached scary levels of everything.

    How many companies/startups today have the sole goal of actually bering bought by one of these three giants.

    The sums of these three companies is probably larger than the annual GDP of most of the worlds countries.

    Something bad is definately going to happen, I just hope that it won't be before I retire and have had a least a few years outside of paying, directly or indirectly, to one or all of these megaopolies.. [Megaopoly is probably not a word but it sounds about right.]

    1. AceRimmer

      Re: Microsoft, Google and Apple - all guilty megaopolies

      "The phenomenal sums of money available to both of these companies has reached scary levels of everything."

      Both?

      Global Hyper Mega Corps are nothing new and there are a lot more than those three. In fact 2 of the 3 companies you list are not even in the global top 20

      http://www.forbes.com/global2000/list/

  3. MatsSvensson

    So what we need, is more specific patent than the one Apple uses?

    Like "it only works with the middle finger"?

    1. Alien8n Silver badge
      Alien

      It's a bought in feature, it's been around for a while for laptops. The problem for Motorola was that there is currently only one manufacturer of fingerprint sensors that will fit in a phone or tablet. Apple bought that supplier, and I don't see them selling the technology to their competitors.

      In the UK there may have been a case for government intervention to block them buying the company, but in the US pretty much anything goes, especially it seems if it can stifle competition and innovation.

    2. Champ

      >So what we need, is more specific patent than the one Apple uses?

      My initial assumption was that this was about patents, too, but on this occasion, it's not.

      I had a Lenovo laptop 10 years ago with a fingerprint reader (which was pretty functional, actually), so the tech must be reasonably mature.

  4. NoOneSpecific

    I am not a fan of APPLE or their products with their curated garden...

    ...but it sounds to me like Google or Motorola should have bought AuthenTec if they were that interested in using their tech. Instead, APPLE beat them to it and they lost out.

    Ya snooze. Ya lose!

    1. asdf Silver badge

      Re: I am not a fan of APPLE or their products with their curated garden...

      Ya get acquired (Motorola mobility) and your management loses it focus (often as they look for new jobs) you lose you mean.

  5. DougS Silver badge

    Court ruling

    This was a Virginia circuit court, in the backyard of the federal government and well known to be receptive to government power.

    This issue will eventually make it to the Supreme Court one way or another, who will have the final say. I find to hard to believe they could say that police can't force you to provide a password to unlock your phone but can force you to provide a finger.

    1. asdf Silver badge

      Re: Court ruling

      Don't be so sure. They can already force you to provide bodily fluids (blood, etc) and or DNA via a court order so this may well stand.

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Court ruling

      >I find to hard to believe they could say that police can't force you to provide a password to unlock your phone but can force you to provide a finger.

      It is a moot point, since it is only an engineering process to unlock an iPhone once you have a photograph of a fingerprint, and if you are arrested the police already take good images of your fingerprints:

      Once he has the digital image, Krissler can use the same method he previously described for unlocking Touch ID with physically obtained fingerprints: he inverts the colors of the obtained print, so the ridges of the fingerprint are rendered in white and the grooves in black, then prints the image in black ink. The black ink on the paper provides just enough texture to recreate a fingerprint's three-dimensional shape, but inverted.

      Krissler then pours glue or plaster over the print of the fingerprint. The ink print serves as a stamp, imprinting the fingerprint's whorls and ridges into the glue and creating a mold that can successfully unlock a Touch ID-locked iPhone 6.

      - http://www.tomsguide.com/us/iphone-touch-id-hack,news-20066.html

      Your fingerprints are found upon your person, just like a piece of paper with username and password details could be.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: Court ruling

        Which is why iOS needs some finer controls over password requirements in addition to Touch ID.

        1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Court ruling

          No need for a finer control

          Just implement a feature where using a certain digit (or password) invokes a hard data erase.

          Then the Feds etc may think twice about forcing you to allow them access.

          Or be like me an not use a smartphone for personal use.

          Mines the one with a Nokia 6310i in the pocket.

          1. gnasher729 Silver badge

            Re: Court ruling

            You can set that up already on an iPhone. Well, not exactly but close. You can set it so that it erases itself after ten failed password attempts. Just make sure you remember your passcode and don't erase it by accident.

        2. werdsmith Silver badge

          Finer Controls in Addition

          It has already to some extent. After a power down it will insist on a typed password being entered on restart, and then before it goes into any iCloud service or app store / app update etc it will insist on the typed password again. And, of course, you can choose not to allow the fingerprint ID to authorise access at all, just stick with conventional typed passwords that people can read over your shoulder.

          However, anyone breaking into my phone, and I suspect 90% of all phones is going to be very disappointed with the content even if they have managed to get the thing into airplane mode before the kill signal arrives.

    3. Meerkatjie

      Re: Court ruling

      My guess is they'll say your finger print is public since you leave it around all over the place so you have no expectations of keeping it private.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Court ruling

        >Just implement a feature where using a certain digit (or password) invokes a hard data erase.

        A buzzing alerts you to an incoming call. You fumble in your pocket to retrieve your phone, and run the wrong finger over the sensor...

        Interesting concept, needs refining! :)

        1. DougS Silver badge

          What I'd like iOS to do

          Maybe a touch with one finger invites you to touch with another finger to confirm? If you used the right followed by left pinky finger, the odds of accidental erasure would be tiny (and obviously this would be something disabled by default) Still, I wouldn't be optimistic about Apple providing this.

          What I really want iOS to do is maintain the non-Touch ID settings for password. So I can have Touch ID on and it unlocks, but I also have to enter my password if it has been longer than the timeout that my phone was locked. If I set it to an hour, the time I'm arrested, driven to the police station, booked etc. will expire that timeout so even if the police can force me to provide my fingerprint, it won't be sufficient. But I wouldn't be inconvenienced for normal usage where it would have been less than hour most of the time so my finger would be fine.

          Though I suppose if I have advanced warning of being arrested I can probably shut down my phone in time. Certainly if I'm being pulled over or they're knocking on my door. If you're arrested randomly on the street you probably don't want to risk taking your phone out of your pocket to lock it because today's trigger happy cops will shoot you and claim you were reaching for a gun.

    4. Havin_it
      Trollface

      Re: Court ruling

      >...but can force you to provide a finger.

      Oh, they won't need to force me, I'll be offering it. ;)

  6. DougS Silver badge

    If they felt AuthenTec was clearly superior

    Shouldn't they have recognized the risk that someone would acquire them? If Apple hadn't, maybe Samsung might have, which would have screwed Moto just the same.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: If they felt AuthenTec was clearly superior

      Why shouldn't the technology available via licence? This, after all, is the founding principle of the patent system. Bullies that buy companies to shut down their licensing are stifling innovation.

      1. Michael Thibault

        Re: If they felt AuthenTec was clearly superior

        One of the ostensible purposes of the patent system is to afford the inventor a reasonable period of protection during which they can, effectively, monetize their creativity/recoup their investment in bringing it to market. Apple acquired the company, and the tech with it, and should--reasonably--be allowed to recoup their investment by being the sole purveyor of the tech; IP is property, and property rights should apply even during that period during which the owner of the IP is protected by the patent system. That would be Apple, for the duration. If that tech were, somehow, to become part of an ISO standard *cough*, Apple would probably neither be justified, nor able (it's hoped), to wield the tech tight-fistedly. But we're not there yet.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: If they felt AuthenTec was clearly superior

          Spoken like a true billable hours whore. Well done.

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: If they felt AuthenTec was clearly superior

            AC, for criticising someone who has answered a question with a fairly clear explanation of the system as it is, you are coming across as wilfully ignorant. Well done.

      2. DougS Silver badge

        @Charlie Clark

        An acquiring company can't cancel pre-existing licenses, they would remain in force for the term of the contract. Either Moto hadn't licensed at all, or did not license for a long enough term.

      3. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: If they felt AuthenTec was clearly superior

        "Why shouldn't the technology available via licence? This, after all, is the founding principle of the patent system. Bullies that buy companies to shut down their licensing are stifling innovation."

        That is _exactly_ what has been happening in the battery arena. You can't get patent licensing for automotive applications of certain battery technologies no matter how much you want to pay.

        Getting it into court to unlock this kind of thing (patent lockouts) would probably take longer than simply waiting for the patents to expire.

  7. Bloodbeastterror

    What's the big deal?

    Me, I wouldn't use fingerprint recognition any more than I'd use face recognition. It's a flawed solution. Nobody can break into my brain for a password. They *can* swipe my finger or push my face into a scanner. And once broken, you can't change your fingerprint "password".

    Another example of Apple's focus on appearance over function...

    1. John Tserkezis

      Re: What's the big deal?

      "Nobody can break into my brain for a password."

      You've nailed it.

      I think Apple have done Motorola a favour here, fingerprints are no more secure than "loose" passwords, and like you said, instead of being secure in your head, you leave your fingerprint security key on almost everything you touch over your entire life. Worse still, as you said, once your ever so important fingerprint has been once compromised (and easily at that), you can't change it. Ever.

      Changing fingers doesn't count, you only get 10 chances verses millions on a big-boy password. Or, like another poster suggetsed, use the middle finger instead. It means more.

      Facial recognition? Don't make me laugh, you may as well save everyone the time and just hand over your device to the crooks right now.

    2. ian 22
      Boffin

      Re: What's the big deal?

      I'll need to keep all this in mind when considering a replacement for my mobe- the one with my secret plan for world domination.

    3. danny_0x98

      Re: What's the big deal?

      Oh my gosh. Press a finger and open up the device, that's appearance and not function?

      The point is balancing convenience with security. The most secure things are terribly inconvenient. The most convenient things are terribly insecure.

      That said, every time I restart from a power down, I have to enter my passcode on my iPad. TouchID does not open the device in that situation.

      So where are we then? Well, I'm sitting here thinking that while my iPad is not the most secure device known to personhood, it is easier to get going than with my pre-TouchID iPhone. And you're sitting there thinking that your brain could not be broken into, and I presume that includes the hypothetical well placed hammer blows to fingers, toes, and knee-caps. Let me hasten to add that I hope you never have to be part of a test of those hypotheses.

      But, for the sake of argument, let's assume that someone cares about what's on my iPad, has gone to the trouble of stealing the device, done what they need to do to simulate the correct finger in the correct position or insist, at peril to my kneecaps, that I open up the phone. After I get my phone back, as you say, I cannot change my fingerprint. Oh dear. What do I do?

      Oh yeah. Make it password only. which was always an option. Also, hope that the security dictum "Kneecap access, game over." does not occur again.

    4. Crisp Silver badge

      Re: Nobody can break into my brain for a password.

      Challenge Accepted.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Nobody can break into my brain for a password.

        @Crisp

        I guessed where your link was going, and I was correct!

        Now, it could be possible to have a 'dummy disk' - containing innocuous emails, innocent landscape pictures, fake bank details etc - that is revealed with a dummy password. The real, or full disk is only revealed with the correct password. That approach might buy some time - until disk sizes are compared - for the device's owner before the wrench is picked up again.

        It's the equivalent of carrying a dummy wallet to give to a mugger. All they get is a cancelled debit card and a fiver.

    5. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: What's the big deal?

      "They *can* swipe my finger or push my face into a scanner."

      "Fingerprints" or "faces" as authentication are as broken as using a birth certificate as identification (I bring this up because birth certs AREN'T identity documents, but are frequently used as such)

      A fingerprint scanner needs a pulse behind it. Ideally you should be using an infrared image of the veins inside the fingers to ensure that you're looking at an actual living item (these are more unique than fingerprints. Even identical twins have differing vein patterns)

      1. Alien8n Silver badge
        Alien

        Re: What's the big deal?

        They also have different fingerprints. If I recall correctly even if someone was to clone you their fingerprints would still be different.

  8. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

    Doesn't surprise me

    This doesn't surprise me at all. Motorola released a phone in the past (the Atrix, had one and loved it) which included a fingerprint sensor, and AFAIK this was an AuthenTec sensor. If Apple had not bought them, Moto would likely have used the tech again.

  9. Alan Denman

    Well that is how life works so get used to it

    Remove competition and you get to name your price. It is exactly what Microsoft, Apple and Intel have done for years.

    Google hate has billions and billions of reasons. They simply do not want that dollar ARMs race.

  10. Paul Docherty
    Alert

    Possible Plagiarism?

    Shaun,

    Are your well-crafted words being lifted by another website?

    http://full-timewhistle.com/technology-22/nexus-6-would-have-had-a-fingerprint-reader-but-apple-ruined-it-all-4999.html

    Looks like they've stolen the tile and sub, and then randomly added unrelated article...

    Paul

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