Apple will never use a fingerprint scanner on any of its iPhones, the company’s chief executive, Tim Cook, said today.
But in an attempt to avoid any negative implications, Cook has insisted Apple would never use the technology in its devices.
Cook said Apple would always take “the most secure steps” to ensure that the technology was used only for the purpose of authenticating users and only for its own business.
Cook made the comments in a keynote speech in San Francisco on the Apple Watch, the latest iteration of the wearable device.
He also said Apple was working on a “smartwatch” with a fingerprint reader, and that the company was “working on a device that would be the most secure”.
“We will never do something that doesn’t make sense for us,” Cook said.
“We’re never going to compromise security, and we’re never not going to do something to get better.”
The keynote came a day after a British parliamentary committee said the technology would be used in the forthcoming smartwatch, called the Applewatch.
It would also be used for a range of other devices, including Apple Pay, Apple Pay Express and a fingerprint scanning app.
Cook has insisted that the fingerprint scanners will be used to authenticate users and other people, but not for commercial reasons.
The technology could also be combined with iris scans, as the British committee did not specifically mention iris scanning.
Apple has been a vocal opponent of fingerprint scanners, claiming they can be easily used by criminals to steal data.
Cook also said he did not know why Apple would use a scanner to authenticating people.
He said that fingerprint scanning could be a security measure but he could not tell if it was because of the scanner’s use or because it was simply for the sake of authentication.
“The question is, what does the technology have to do with privacy?
It has to do very little with privacy,” Cook told the audience.
He said Apple had not looked into whether the technology could be used on the new Apple Watch.
“I don’t know what is going to happen with this.
We don’t have any technology at the moment that we don’t understand,” Cook added.
The British committee said it was not clear if Apple was planning to use the scanner in a way that would allow the company to identify a person’s face, or if it would just be used as an identification device.
The committee also said it had no evidence that fingerprint scanners could be “read” without a third party being able to look at the scan.
The new technology, which is being built by Cambridge University and will cost $US4,000 per device, will be able to scan a user’s face and read the data, according to Cook.
It will also be able read the iris of a person, and if they are using Apple Pay in the future, the scanner will be capable of “sending a transaction”.
The committee said there was no evidence to suggest Apple was using the technology to steal money or identify people.
“There is no evidence the technology can be used by anyone other than the person wearing it,” said David Lam, a senior lecturer in computer science at the university.
“And there is no suggestion the technology is being used for commercial purposes.
It is purely for security.”
The committee recommended Apple use a software update to make it harder for criminals to hack into devices with the technology, and to stop Apple from selling the scanner.
Apple’s chief security officer, Matthew Green, said that the new technology could not be used against other people or in ways that were likely to cause harm.
“We have never used this technology in a criminal context, and have never sold it to anyone in that sense,” Green told the BBC.
“This is just one of the many security risks that come with the Apple ecosystem.
It’s not something that you would want to put in a wallet.”
He said the FBI was working with Apple on developing a software patch for the fingerprint scanner, which will be released “in the near future”.