But this time instead of patent lawsuits and loads of other trolling with other market players, the Cupertino-based company instead went shopping for new IP recently and their next iPhone has been almost completely leaked in a few new spy photos that appeared on the internet today.

The company recently made another smart move by buying out AuthenTec, a manufacturer of fingerprint sensors that have appeared on almost every mobile device, laptop and wall-mounted scanner branded by at least a dozen companies. Apple, being one of the companies that seems to feel out trends before other companies realise how important they are, probably made the acquisition due to the increasing trend of people bringing in their own devices to work. 

This isn’t to say that you’ll see fingerprint readers and the like appearing on Apple devices anytime soon. AuthenTec’s external readers already have driver support for OS X so there’s nothing better that the pairing could achieve for Apple’s products. Its likely that Apple needs to beef up its patent porfolio by using the legal system to its advantage. The company made the final touches to the deal on the 26th and is in the process of buying out the company at a price of $8 per share, amounting to just over $356 million. After watching for some time how the company has played the patent troll thing I only have this to say; don’t hate the player, hate the game!

If you were wondering exactly how big AuthenTec is, they’re supplying several of the biggest players in the tech industry with their scanners and software. AuthenTec already has deals with Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, Fujitsu, HBO, HP, Lenovo, LG, Motorola, Nokia, Orange, Samsung, Sky, and Texas Instruments.

Lets be clear on one thing, boys and girls. If you ever doubted that Apple has some very smart people at the helm steering the company that Steve Jobs reworked from the ground up back in 2000, this move should contradict everything you’ve ever thought about it. They’re serious about market domination and have made several smart moves to do it.

In other news though, the new iPhone that should be ready for a release this year has been snapped up in many separate pictures over the net in the last few months and the shell you see below is as near to finished as is possible. The major changes you can expect are the larger screen and redesigned Apple connector at the bottom of the phone. We’ve had the standard 30-pin  iPod/iPhone connector with us for ages and its time for a new connector and a new wave of devices to accompany it. Since Apple gets no royalties from companies that include it, its no wonder that its easier to buy a compatible Hi-Fi with a dock than it is to find a cover for your phone from a less popular manufacturer.

It looks like the phone has a slightly larger screen of the 4″ variety (although I could be off by an inch or two) and is around the same width as the current iPhone 4s. The button locations remain unchanged, giving users some familiarity but the 3.5mm jack has been relocated to the bottom of the phone. I know one complaint among my friends with an iPhone was that there was always the chance of the jack being filled with water if the phone was ever used in the rain (not that it makes any sense to me to whip out a nine thousand Rand piece of technology in the rain, but anyway).

If nothing else, its a new iPhone that will be the number one on many buyer’s wishlists when the phone launches this year. I’ll be sure to bring you the news on that when it launches, so make sure you either follow either my page or NAG’s Group or Facebook page for links when the phone hits.

Source: Tom’s Hardware, GSM Arena

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