According to the Wall Street Journal, the new iPhone 5S that will be introduced later today in Cupertino, will feature a fingerprint scanner. This had long been the subject of rumor, with part leaks showing the new fingerprint sensors. It was unclear if these were going to be included in the final product, but that has been confirmed according to ‘people familiar with the matter’. The fingerprint scanner will be included on the high end iPhone 5S, but not on Apple’s new low-cost model, the iPhone 5C. Expectations are for the fingerprint scanner to be a highlight tomorrow and help differentiate the flagship from the more wallet-friendly model.
The natural use for a fingerprint scanner will be security of ones phone, a big issue these days. Find My iPhone, with its improvements in iOS 7, has gone a long way towards protecting data on a lost or stolen iPhone. Passcodes are generally difficult to crack, but this new security technology could amplify Apple’s ability to keep your data secure. This should have wide appeal in the business and government markets. It remains to be seen if regular consumers will find it cumbersome, especially in households where an iPhone is at times a shared device. A fingerprint scanner ultimately means that you must be present to open your iPhone.
With the fingerprint scanner in the cards for tomorrow’s iPhone special event, the focus will be on the software side of things. Outside of security, will Apple push forth any plans to allow for secure payments? Will third party developers gain access to the new scanner?
The event gets underway around 10:00 PST or 1:00 EST. Stay tuned for complete coverage here and in the forums.