The rumors surrounding Apple's iPhone 5S continue to grow louder, and now we have well-connected blogger Mark Gurman throwing his hat into the ring as well. Writing for 9to5Mac, Gurman confirms what many reports have suggested for many months, namely that Apple's next-gen iPhone will feature a fingerprint authorization sensor.
As has been reported elsewhere, Gurman relays that the fingerprint authorization sensor will lie underneath the home button. While there have been reports that the iPhone 5S' home button will be convex and comprised of sapphire, Gurman squashes this notion. According to him, the iPhone 5S home button will largely look unchanged from the iPhone 5.
The technologies powering the iPhone 5S’s fingerprint scanner are likely based off of the developments of Apple-owned Authentec. Interestingly, we’re told that nearly every top executive from Authentec that joined Apple through the acquisition departed Apple in the first calendar quarter of 2013. This is similar to Siri executives leaving Apple in the months around the iPhone 4S launch and top employees from C3 Technologies (the 3D mapping firm that Apple bought in 2011) moving on from Apple in the weeks prior to the iOS 6 3D Flyover mode’s debut.
A fingerprint scanner on the iPhone 5S will take biometric technology to mainstream levels. According to Apple sources privy to customer usage data, a very small percentage of iPhone owners use a passcode. In our current world where digital security is becoming an increasingly important issue, it is likely that Apple hopes a fingerprint scanner will raise the aforementioned statistic. Nonetheless, the Settings app on the iPhone 5S is said to have a switch to disable the fingerprint sensor.
While the inclusion of a fingerprint authorization sensor opens up a range of possibilities with respect to mobile payments, other reports have indicated that the technology, at least at first, will only be used to help users secure their devices.
Lastly, Gurman adds that the bulk of Apple's engineering resources are focused on delivering iOS 7 for the iPhone. Consequently, iOS 7 for the iPad may be delayed slightly.