Each and every Apple product release is preceded by a flurry of rumors relating to the device’s expected features. While some of the rumors indeed turn out to be true eventually, many of them remain far-fetched speculations.
In terms of Apple’s next generation iPhone, the purported “iPhone 5S,” numerous reports have surfaced recently, but what has fueled the rumor-mill even further of late is a new report saying that the handset will feature a fingerprint sensor hidden beneath the home button.
Apple acquired smart sensors maker AuthenTec in July 2012 for $356 million, and according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, that acquisition by the Cupertino tech giant will pay off this year with the release of the “iPhone 5S,” integrating the fingerprint sensor into the traditional home button that will allow Apple to stick to its “minimalist design,” Apple Insider has reported.
Kuo has opined that the inclusion of the fingerprint sensor into the home button will help the iPhone gain significant competitive edge over rival Android and Windows Phone products as it will be difficult for them to incorporate something similar.
“In contrast, many Android and Windows Phone devices have more than one button below the display, and those buttons frequently lack the mechanical push of Apple's home button,” said the report. “As a result, attempts to integrate fingerprint scanning on competing devices would be less intuitive, and could frustrate users.”
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Fingerprint Sensor: How Will It Mingle?
The analyst has said that the addition of fingerprint sensor could prove to be a winning move by Apple as it would replace authentication through usernames and passwords, allowing the users to authenticate in a more disciplined manner.
A built-in finger print sensor is also expected to go hand in hand with applications like Passbook to improve their functionality. It will enhance the security and authentication of the user’s boarding passes, tickets and other Passbook items, according to Christian Zibreg of iDownloadBlog.
The report also has pointed out something that Kuo hasn’t talked about – a rumored Apple-branded payment service, dubbed “iPay,” with fingerprint sensor integration. Although there is hardly any proof of iPay getting developed, Apple, in fact, has filed for a number of patents related to mobile payment – the iWallet solution for future NFC-enabled iPhone is the most significant one to be cited here.
Since Apple has over 400 million iTunes account holders, Zibreg believes that “the company would be foolish not to eventually tap into all these credit cards and turn your iPhone into the ultimate digital wallet, strengthened with fingerprint-based authentication.”
Apple’s 2013 Product Roadmap By Kuo
Apart from the “iPhone 5S,” Kuo also has talked about a list of other Apple products that are due to be released in 2013, with majority of the launches being focused on the third quarter.
According to him, Apple will release both an “iPhone 5S” and a revamped iPhone 5 (possibly the rumored low-priced version) sometime around June or July of this year. While the main flagship version of the handset is likely to feature an A7 processor, a fingerprint sensor and camera improvements as key features, the cheaper version of the device will be slightly thicker and have six color options.
When it comes to the next-generation iPad, Kuo has predicted that it will be slimmer and lighter. On the other hand, the second generation iPad mini is predicted to come up with a Retina display.
Kuo’s other predictions include a cheaper MacBook Pro with all-Retina lineup; MacBook Air, iMac and Mac Mini with Intel's forthcoming Haswell platform; “a scaled-back fifth-generation model” of the iPod touch at $199, featuring 8 GB of storage but with no rear camera, and minor updates to the existing Apple TV towards the end of the first quarter.