Apple shares sink after iPhone 5S launch — price and Touch ID propriety raised as concerns

September 11, 2013 - 

The market has so far not responded very positively to the launch of Apple’s new iPhones – one which includes a biometric fingerprint sensor.

Shares of the popular device manufacturer dropped nearly 6% Wednesday, following a 2% drop yesterday, CNN reports. According to the report, this represents almost $40 billion of lost market value for the company. 

Across the board, market analysts seem to agree that it is the price of these new units – particularly the cheaper 5C – that has shocked investors, though some concerns have also been raised about the proprietary nature of the Touch ID system.

It was widely acknowledged that if Apple came out with a competitively-priced smartphone, it could capture a new chunk of market share, and also, perform well in emerging markets. As of yet, it is unclear if this sharp decline in share price has anything to do with the perceptions of a biometric fingerprint sensor in a consumer device, though the even higher price tag on the 5S (the one with the sensor) does leave a lot of room for some serious Android competition down the line.

Some in the biometrics sphere are excited by the new launch and what it could represent for adoption of the technology, and have even seen gains of their own.

“Apple is the thought leader when it comes to mobile ingenuity and it is our strong belief that the rest of the mobile industry now will follow this first step towards making fingerprint biometrics a standard on smart devices,” Thomas Marschall, CEO of Precise Biometrics said. “This opens up great potential for our proven algorithm, Precise Match-on-Card and the smart case Tactivo.”

Precise Biometrics has been selling the Tactivo card reader, which includes a fingerprint scanner for the iPhone and iPad for quite some time now and has seen success with the product over the last year.

According to a report in Bloomberg, the company’s stocks actually jumped as much as 14 percent following the iPhone launch, to its highest price since September 5.

Touch ID too proprietary?

“Apple’s delivery of a usable, mobile biometric solution will help safeguard their customers while streamlining device access and App Store purchases. An open question is whether this will be an initial step to deliver strong, simple security across mobile devices or if the Industry will have a continued dependence on the proprietary, closed systems that have held back previous attempts,” Phillip Dunkelberger, CEO of Nok Nok Labs said in a statement.

“The introduction of Touch ID on the new iPhone 5S is an important milestone, but we need strong authentication to scale outside of the Apple universe. According to the latest figures from IDC, iOS represents only 16.9% of the global smartphone market. We need solutions that include all of the different existing platforms – Windows, Android, Linux as well as considering all types of authentication technologies such as voice, face and secure PIN.”

As we reported yesterday, Michael Barrett president of the FIDO Alliance shared a similar perspective to the new Touch ID format.

Last night in an interview with Bloomberg, Jay Meier, VP of corporate development at Bio-key International said that although the technology is likely to be embraced by consumers, Apple’s architecture is quite isolated to the phone, which might not be conducive to enterprise deployment.

“It’s not that companies don’t want strong user authentication – the issue really is, how do you deliver the information to the stakeholder like a Bloomberg or a J.P. Morgan, or somebody like that? In this case, the biometric authentication appears to be located exclusively on the iPhone and that means that the iPhone will transmit a signal to iTunes or iCloud, which will then send additional information to some service provider like J.P. Morgan. Whether or not J.P. Morgan would be interested in accepting that level of user authentication that they can’t control remains to be seen, and the same goes for a large enterprise class deployment.,” Meier said.

“You have to realize that if a large stakeholder – someone that’s going to buy potentially thousands of these phones and ask their employees to enroll on those phones, how do you manage an upgrade cycle? What if Samsung wants to compete against Apple for the next iteration? How do you move that identity from the Apple ecosystem to Samsung? That friction is pretty tough and it makes it very expensive and difficult for large enterprise stakeholders to invest in a proprietary sole-source technology.”

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About Adam Vrankulj

Adam Vrankulj is an editor for BiometricUpdate.com. His background consists of online news writing, editing and content marketing. Adam has written for CBCNews.ca, BlogTO and was the editor and curator for the nextMEDIA and CIX Source publications. He has a degree in journalism and is passionate about science, technology and social innovation. Contact Adam, or follow him at @adamvrankulj