Expectations for the iPhone 6 and the Galaxy S5 are running high this year, and both Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung are trying to one-up each other this year. Biometric security is shaping up to be the next battleground in smartphones, so who's going to get there first?
Samsung might rush eye scanner to Galaxy S5
This week a Samsung executive said at CES that they were working on an iris scanner, but he couldn't say whether they would be putting it into the Galaxy S5 or not. However, he did say that they want the handset to be ready in April. This would mean that they would either have to be extremely close to having an iris scanner small enough to put into the Galaxy S5, or they might rush it to market, leaving something to be desired in the process.
Is an iris scanner possible now?
The bigger question, perhaps, is whether the technology to make an iris scanner small enough has arrived yet. Forbes contributor Anthony Wing Kosner said he hasn't seen an iris scanner which would be small enough. He used the Myris, which is an iris scanner that was shown off at CES this week. He says it's "the size of an old, round Macintosh mouse" and is going to sell for $200 to $300. By comparison, the TouchID sensor Apple used in the iPhone 5S is tiny. He said there has to be "at least a factor of 5" in the difference of size and weight between the two sensors. As a result, he doesn't think the technology will be ready for the Galaxy S5.
What about the iPhone 6?
Since the Galaxy S5 is supposed to be slated for April, you might think that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has a bit of advantage in that it has more time to incorporate the technology into the iPhone 6, which might not be out until September. However, he doesn't think even that will happen.
He does note that iris scanning will probably be better than fingerprint scanning when the technology arrives because there aren't the same sorts of variables involved in scanning an iris as there are in scanning a fingerprint. Some estimate that iris scanning is 150 times more accurate than fingerprint scanning. As a result, Apple and Samsung will undoubtedly be trying to beat each other in incorporating iris scanning into their respective flagship handsets.
Battle of the smartphone / smart watch combo
Many analysts are expecting Apple to start offering the iWatch this year, and they're expecting it to be better than Samsung's Galaxy Gear watch, which released late last year and hasn't been very well received. In fact, Samsung is already refreshing that watch and launching a new model along with the Galaxy S5.