Apple’s move to include biometric technology in its flagship iPhone 5S should not be blindly copied by other phone manufacturers, Gartner has warned.
In a research note seen exclusively by V3, the analyst house wrote that while Apple made a big play about the inclusion of the technology in the device, there are still many issues that remain and that could prove frustrating to consumers.
“Companies should evaluate biometric controls but be sensitive to the privacy concerns that have been voiced in response to the Touch ID technology. Additionally, be aware that most biometric controls have not been reliable, and if the technology does not work well, consumers will easily become annoyed with the feature and stop using it,” the note said.
“Additionally, the workaround of the Touch ID technology may dissuade some consumers. As such, vendors should be cautious in their efforts to implement these technologies, as very high reliability is a must for consumer acceptance.”
The inclusion of the Touch ID fingerprint scanner has also been seen as good security measure for enterprise as it adds a greater level of protection to devices. Although Gartner said it believes the bigger reason for Apple to use the scanner is for downloads, making it quicker and easier than inputting a password, given the integration of the technology with iTunes.
Another area touched on by Gartner relates to Apple’s decision not to include near-field communication (NFC) in its latest iPhone devices and instead focus on its own AirDrop service. Gartner said this could prove a big blow for the wider takeup of the technology.
“Apple's decision to include AirDrop in iOS 7 clearly indicates that the company has no immediate plans, if any, to support NFC,” it said.
“This has the potential to negatively impact the chances of continued success for NFC in the market, with Apple representing a significant percentage of the high-end phone market. This also has potential implications for NFC payment technologies.”
Despite this uptake of NFC is growing in other areas, with Transport for London offering the service on buses in the capital, and plans to bring the technology to tubes in 2014.
Regarding the slightly cheaper iPhone 5C device, Gartner said it represented a move by Apple to try and entice iPhone 4 and 4S devices to upgrade, while retaining its focus on quality.
It said rival consumers looking to compete with the Apple brand for these types of consumers considering their next phone would have to try and match the specifications of the iPhone 5C.
“Manufacturers should look at improving their design in midtier products to compete with the iPhone 5C, which offers no specs compromises and a stronger brand. Materials and screen sizes will be features that most easily influence buyers,” it said.
Apple has been said to have scaled back production of the iPhone 5C since its launch after a lacklusture uptake, with the vast majority of the early sales being for the iPhone 5S.
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