While the iPhone 5S is expected to look fairly similar to the iPhone 5 that many folks have in their pockets right now, that doesn't mean that the device that'll be unveiled tomorrow won't have a few notable new features. One of the most oft-rumored additions is a fingerprint scanner that would see Apple's 2012 acquisition of fingerprint reader company AuthenTec finally bear fruit. And although we'll have to wait until tomorrow's event to know if a reader does indeed make the cut into the 5S, one last-minute report has added support to the rumors.
Sources speaking to the Wall Street Journal say that Apple is planning to include a fingerprint scanner on "the more expensive of two iPhones" that will be introduced at the Cupertino firm's Sept. 10 event. Details on the scanner itself are light, but previous reports have suggested that it'll be built into the new iPhone's Home button. Another tidbit that's still a mystery is whether or not Apple will allow third-party app developers to utilize the scanner for their own software.
The iPhone 5S wouldn't be the first smartphone to feature a fingerprint-based security feature. Motorola's Atrix 4G included a fingerprint scanner on its rear when it launched in early 2011, but according to the WSJ's tipster, Moto ultimately decided to ditch the feature because consumers weren't using it much, and the ones that did complained of frequent errors.
Since the Atrix 4G, we haven't really seen many fingerprint scanners in the smartphone world. The tech has likely improved since then, though, and so it'll be interesting to see how well it works on Apple's new smartphone. If it performs relatively quickly and without too many errors, the feature could give users an added layer of security on their smartphone that's much more difficult to bypass than a PIN or pattern.
There's also some good news tonight for Android fans interested in fingerprint scanning tech. In its same report, the WSJ claims that a new Android-powered smartphone is coming this year with a fingerprint scanner that will be similar to the one in Apple's new iPhone. The identity of this device is a mystery, and it's not yet clear if the phone will even make its way to the U.S. If the feature works and consumers start adopting it en masse, though, I wouldn't be surprised to see it pop up in even more future hardware.
Do you think that you'd use a fingerprint scanner on your daily driver? Or would you rather stick to a password, PIN or some other form of security?