I personally believe that Touch ID, and future systems like it, are going to prove just as important to smartphones as multi-touch has proven. It’s something that seems so logical, so magical that when you use it, as Jony Ive says:
True simplicity is, well, you just keep on going and going until you get to the point where you go, ‘Yeah, well, of course.’ Where there’s no rational alternative.
Touch ID is one of those “Yeah, well, of course” things. So naturally I have been wondering about the future of Touch ID. Right now Touch ID can only bypass your device passcode (which you can now make complex without hating your life) and it can unlock your Apple ID password for iTunes and App Store purchases (which should also be a complex password). These are very useful scenarios, but I’d really like to be able to do things like unlock 1Password (again, a complex password).
I think it is a safe assumption to assume that Apple has thought about how nice this would be too, but they aren’t yet allowing third-party access to whatever system Touch ID works off of, so why? I have to believe that Apple could allow access in a very secure manner, so why not?
My guess is that Apple knows that Touch ID is a system that makes a lot of people, to say the least, uncomfortable. And until such time that Touch ID becomes comfortable, Apple won’t run the risk of letting any third-party developers do anything to potentially delay, or dissuade, the comfort and trust that Apple is asking from its users.
Assuming then that Apple can securely allow developers access to Touch ID, I have to believe that they want to, and eventually will, allow developers usage of Touch ID. The timing will just come down to waiting for the point to come when users not only want and trust Touch ID, but refuse to go back to the pre-Touch ID days.
I can’t wait for that day.