Is Touch ID Innovation?

Some folks are complaining that there wasn’t enough “innovation” in Apple’s iPhone 5s and 5c announcements.  But I think the 5s represents the kind of innovation Apple does best.  I’m talking about the fingerprint scanning.

A few years ago, backups were a pain in the butt.  Apple did something amazing with Time Machine in that they made backup not just a system feature, but something that people really use.  It’s not hard to find people who recovered from data loss or hardware disaster thanks to their Time Machine backups.

Everyone knew they needed backups, and knew the risk of not having current backups, but Time Machine is what kicked a lot of people into having a reasonable backup strategy.  Time Machine did this through not just building a reasonably well engineered backup solution, but by nailing the user experience.

Today, passwords are a similar problem.  Everyone knows they should use a different password on every site.  Everyone knows they should have a strong lock code on their phone.  But most people don’t.  Nobody likes remembering and typing long complex passwords, so most people don’t. 

Touch ID and iCloud Keychain have the potential to change this.  iCloud Keychain lets you have a strong password on every site without having to remember the password – the way 1Password does – and with Touch ID, your fingerprint serves as the strong master password you need to unlock the keychain.

Apple has made it so that millions of users will follow good security practices, just as they helped users not lose data. 

Is that innovation?  I think so.