Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) decision to purchase AuthenTec for $356 million in July of 2012 is believed to have been motivated solely by the iPhone maker’s desire to gain access to its custom fingerprint scanning technology. The acquisition of the unique biometric security feature has fueled speculation that Apple will incorporate it into a future iteration of the iPhone. Already, signs have emerged indicating that the company is further investing in that technology.
An open position for a Software Engineer in Melbourne, Florida was discovered by AppleInsider on Monday. The job posting, according to the publication, advertised for a candidate who could work on software called “LabTool,” which is used in conjunction with integrated circuits developed at Apple’s “Melbourne Design Center.” The city of Melbourne is situated on Florida’s Space Coast, so named for its proximity to the Kennedy Space Center where NASA launched Space Shuttles until the program was ended in 2011. The presence of NASA and several military installations has produced a number of high-tech jobs in the area.
While the advertisement did not indicate what type of integrated circuits the software engineer would work on, the publication suggested that is was likely that the position was related to AuthenTec, especially as the company is also based in Melbourne. Additionally, there are no other jobs listed in Melbourne, a further indication that the new hire would go to work at AuthenTec’s existing operations.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-chi Kuo, who has a strong record of predicting Apple’s future products, according to AppleInsider, claimed in January that the company had plans to release the so-called “iPhone 5S” in 2013, complete with a fingerprint sensor based on AuthenTec’s technology. The sensor will be placed under the home button on the handset, stated Kuo, and enable users to bypass password entry and even authenticate e-wallet transactions.