One of my favorite features of iPhone 5s is the Touch ID fingerprint scanner. If you had a horrible experience with fingerprint scanners on laptops like I did, it is almost “magical” how well Touch ID works. It isn’t perfect, but it works almost 100% of the time, and Apple continues to improve its performance and reliability.
However, one of my biggest gripes with Touch ID on the iPhone 5s has been its limited utility. You can currently use it only to unlock your iPhone and purchase items from iTunes.
I expected Apple to extend its functionality in subsequent iOS software updates, but that unfortunately hasn’t happened. I hope Apple unlocks its full potential at least in iOS 8.
Third Party Apps
One of the most requested features is the ability to lock apps using Touch ID. Apple could implement it in a number of ways.
There are a number of apps in the App Store such as DropBox, various Banking apps that allow you to passcode protect them. But after using Touch ID, passcode protection feels outdated. Apple could offer Touch ID APIs in iOS 8 so that developers of such apps could add support for Touch ID instead.
Alternatively, it could allow device owners to protect individual apps using Touch ID, making them unavailable to users who don’t have a fingerprint stored on the device. Jailbreak tweaks such as Asphaleia, BioProtect, BioLockdown and AppLocker have already brought similar functionality to jailbroken iPhones.
One of the areas Touch ID could play a major role is mobile payments. There are rumors that Apple is planning to launch its own mobile payment service to take on the likes of PayPal, Google and startups such as Square. It is not clear if Apple will use iBeacon or NFC to initiate a secure connection to a point-of-service terminal to process the payments, but it could make transactions more secure and reduce frauds using iPhone’s fingerprint sensor.
I love Touch ID, but I will like it even more when I can use it to make my life even easier. The hope is iOS 8 will make that possible.
Let me know what you think in the comments. I would love to find out what’s on your iOS 8 wishlist, so please feel free to to share them in the comments.