A London-based programmer has found a reference to fingerprint-recognition technology in a beta build of Apple’s new iOS 7 for iThings.
iOS 7, which Apple previewed back in June, has a radically different design and some new features, including new Siri voices and a control center with easy access to settings menus.
The programmer grabbed a load from text from a folder called BiometricKitUI within the Accessibility Bundles in the Library directory of the new operating system iOS 7.
The folder mentions “fingerprint status,” and describes a print scan that involves a user touching the Home button with their thumb. 9to5Mac cites an unnamed “source familiar with the development of the new iPhone” who says the fingerprint scanner is meant to unlock the phone – though it could also be used for other things, such as making mobile payments more secure.
This folder’s presence doesn’t necessarily mean anything – but it’s worth mentioning that last year Apple bought Authentec, a security company that builds fingerprint sensors and encryption technology. An iPhone with a fingerprint sensor would be a boon for password-management and financial companies, who would (theoretically) be able to use it to make sensitive information carried on the device that much more secure.
In addition to the fingerprint rumors, there is speculation about Apple’s long-rumored, lower-cost iPhone. On Tuesday, case manufacturer Elago posted a set of cases on Amazon.com that purport to fit the new iPhone, though none are available for purchase. Meanwhile, Chinese phone site WeiPhone posted a picture of what looks like retail packaging marked with “iPhone 5C” decals.
The latest iPhone is expected to be released in September, though it is still unknown whether it will be known as the iPhone 5S or iPhone 6.