Apple's announcement last week that the upcoming iPhone will have biometric (fingerprint) authentication represents the market's recognition that we need better authentication for our mobile devices - and it should be as easy as possible to use.
Whether Apple's fingerprint feature will catch on - how it will be accepted by users, how well it will work, and what it's ultimate success will be, is not the focus of this post. Authentication and security are taking center stage. Users are realizing that mobile devices are becoming our go-to methods to access critical information (work related applications, banking, social media...) and traditional methods of securing computers - both technical and situational, are no longer relevant.
Mobile authentication requires accepting that the user is "mobile". They're in their car or out at lunch. They're on shared networks. They're in crowded spaces. For this use case, successful authentication technology needs to be fast, intuitive, and adaptive. Apple recognizes this - because your finger is part of you, it's always there. A single fingerprint is a quick and easy method of identifying yourself.
In the coming months we will see the conversation around mobile authentication, and securing mobile apps and activities, continue. Innovative ways to provide better security for mobile will be increasingly adopted, and users will see some of the same advances in authentication that we have seen other areas of mobile technology.