Apple's iOS 7 beta 4 hints at biometric fingerprint scanning

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Code contained in the fourth beta release of Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS 7 mobile operating system upgrade suggests the company will introduce biometric fingerprint scanning in tandem with the next version of its iPhone.

Based on screenshots supplied to 9to5Mac by developer Hamza Sood, iOS 7 beta 4 includes a new folder named BiometricKitUI that appears to let users access a VoiceOver-enabled iPhone by swiping a sensor embedded into the smartphone's home button. The relevant code text states "Photo of a person holding an iPhone with their left hand while touching the Home button with their thumb_; A fingerprint that changes colour during the setup process._iPhoto of a person holding an iPhone with their right hand while touching the Home button with their thumb_Recognition."

Apple acquired digital security firm AuthenTec for $356 million in mid-2012. AuthenTec offered encryption technology, fingerprint sensors, identity management software and Near Field Communications services integrated into a range of portable electronics products, fueling speculation Apple would incorporate biometric technology into future hardware releases. Boosting the iPhone's security would help Apple push the device further into the enterprise sector and enable banks and financial services providers to accelerate their mobile rollouts.

Also new in iOS 7 beta 4: An updated Call button that takes up less of the iPhone screen, fullscreen FaceTime access, a redesigned lockscreen, Notification Center improvements, new AirPlay icons and an expanded Siri voice assistant menu touting new query suggestions.

Apple unveiled iOS 7 at its annual Worldwide Developer Conference last month. Among the biggest changes in iOS 7 is the elimination of skeuomorphism, the longstanding iOS design aesthetic that leverages real-world images and metaphors like linen-textured gray backgrounds, wooden bookshelves and spiral-bound notebooks. The revamped OS also signals the launch of multitasking for all apps, AirDrop wireless file sharing, revamped Siri controls and the iTunes Radio streaming music service.

For more:
- read this 9to5Mac article
- read this MacRumors article

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