Rumors earlier this year suggested that Apple may be planning to include fingerprint scanning technology in an upcoming iPhone model, a result of the company's purchase of security firm AuthenTec in 2012. Those rumors got a boost of support from Apple itself today, as code in the just-released fourth beta of iOS 7 includes references to biometric technology.
Discovered by Hamza Sood, the iOS 7 beta 4 code includes a folder called "BiometricKitUI." Also buried inside the code are references to a tutorial that would show a user how to use a fingerprint scanning feature. For example, one string reads "Photo of a person holding an iPhone with their left hand while touching the Home button with their thumb," while another includes the line "A fingerprint that changes color during the setup process" that would be included with an image of a fingerprint. The final line, which may also be the most interesting, says "Recognition is complete."
While these lines of code aren't exactly outright confirmation that the next iPhone will sport fingerprint recognition technology, they do appear to give the rumors about that feature more weight. The addition of biometric scanning would presumably give iPhone owners an extra layer of security, not only from ne'er-do-wells trying to get at the data on your device, but also possibly from thieves that might try to wipe and resell the device. The next iPhone is expected to arrive later this year.