Since acquiring security firm AuthenTec for $356 million in July 2012, it has long been rumored that Apple would eventually integrate its fingerprint scanning technologies into future products. And that move could be happening in the near future, as hidden code in iOS 7 beta 4 — discovered by Hamza Sood (via 9to5Mac) — suggests that Apple is in fact working on a fingerprint scanner that will be built into the home button.
The uncovered code, located within the folder “BiometricKitUI.axbundle” under Accessibility, shows strings that VoiceOver would read to an iPhone user. “Photo of a person holding an iPhone with their right hand while touching the Home button with their thumb,” it reads.
It is widely believed that Apple could introduce the iPhone 5S with a fingerprint scanner later this year, in an effort to differentiate the device from the Galaxy S4 and a myriad of other Android smartphone competitors.But, up until now, there had been little evidence that Apple was actually working on such a feature.
According to sources familiar with the upcoming iPhone, Apple has finalized the user interface of this upcoming fingerprint scanning system. It is expected to be used for unlocking the iPhone, so it may not be a payment system for Passbook as previously speculated. The iPhone 5S is due to arrive this fall with several other upgrades.