Samsung’s decision to include a fingerprint scanner in the Galaxy S5 may have plenty of Apple fans crying copycat, but the South Korean company’s new flagship smartphone may have a real edge over the iPhone 5s after all. A new API from Samsung gives third-party developers full access to the built-in sensor, unlike Apple which chose to restrict its Touch ID technology to a few pre-selected functions.
Developers working on new apps specifically designed for the Galaxy S5 can use the fingerprint recognition in pretty much any way they want, opening the door for new apps and services that the iPhone 5s won’t be able to offer. Samsung has also a partnership with PayPal for making mobile payments, while Apple’s Touch ID will only let you spend money in the company’s own app and media stores.
Apple’s argument for keeping its own fingerprint scanner under lock and key is its desire to protect your privacy. The data used by Touch ID is stored in a secure enclave of the iPhone’s processor and only works with the company’s own services, meaning there’s less of a chance the information could get out. It’s unclear exactly how Samsung plans to protect user fingerprints, though hopefully the company won’t put your privacy at risk just to gain an edge over its biggest rival.