As written for Technobabble on MSN
Rumors of an iPhone fingerprint reader circulating since March have been affirmed by developers who received a beta version of Apple’s newest operating system for the iPhone and iPad on Monday.
Strings of code in Apple’s iOS 7 beta 4 evidently relate to a tutorial on how to use a fingerprint sensor, which would be embedded in the iPhone’s home button. Developer Hamza Sood shared on Twitter a snapshot of the code, an excerpt of which reads:
> Photo of a person holding an iPhone with their right hand while touching the Home button with their thumb
> A fingerprint that changes colour during the setup process.
> Recognition is %@ complete
The strings were contained in a code bundle named BiometricKitUI, which references a biometric function that Apple addicts have been buzzing about for months.
Back in March, MacRumors picked up a report from the China Times indicating that a firm from Taiwan had been providing components for the iPhone 5S including a chip to support a fingerprint sensor. That report stoked rumors that had already been making the rounds ever since Apple acquired AuthenTec, a mobile security outfit, last year. AuthenTec makes some of the world’s smallest banking-standard biometric scanners.
A fingerprint scanner on the iPhone’s home button promises a level of security mobile users have not yet seen but increasingly need.
As noted by Yahoo!, a mobile device that requires the owner’s fingerpint to unlock becomes a brick to a phone thief and provides confidence over and above the text-based passwords used to access social media, web mail, and cloud storage.
Yahoo! fairly misses a big point, however, in that a fingerprint function offers unprecedented security for everyday mobile users conducting financial transactions such as online purchases, money transfers (e.g., through PayPal), and online banking transactions.
While there are no assurances Apple will go to market with the fingerprint feature, customers appear eager for the function to be included. The next iPhone is expected to be unveiled in September.