Report: Apple's iPhone 5S to offer fingerprint scanning, but iPhone 5C won't


Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) new iPhone 5S will introduce biometric fingerprint security scanning features, sources familiar with the company's plans told The Wall Street Journal.

Apple will not extend fingerprint scanning to its low-cost iPhone 5C, insiders added. The computing giant is expected to unveil both new smartphones at a media event scheduled for 1:00 pm ET today.

Rumors of Apple's plans to incorporate fingerprint security into its new iOS 7 operating system upgrade first surfaced in late July, when developer Hamza Sood supplied 9to5Mac with iOS 7 beta 4 screenshots depicting 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.

It remains unclear whether Apple will let third-party iOS developers leverage the fingerprint scanning technology in their iPhone applications. Apple did not respond to a request for comment.

Boosting the iPhone's security should help Apple push the device further into the enterprise sector and enable banks and financial services providers to accelerate their mobile rollouts. Apple's influence means other mobile phone makers are likely to embrace similar security measures: Sources told The Wall Street Journal that at least one forthcoming smartphone running Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android will include fingerprint scanning technology, although it is unclear if the device will be sold in the U.S. market. A Google spokesperson declined to comment.

Google-owned Motorola Mobility integrated a fingerprint sensor in its Atrix 4G phone, which launched in 2011. An insider said the manufacturer halted use of the sensors because some consumers complained about scanner errors and many others simply ignored the feature.

Apple will roll out iOS 7 to consumers this afternoon, according to an email sent to developers by Apple partner Nuance Communications, whose voice and natural language technologies power the platform's Siri intelligent assistant. Apple announced iOS 7 in June at its annual Worldwide Developer Conference: The revamp signals the elimination of skeuomorphism, the longstanding iOS design aesthetic that leverages real-world images and metaphors like linen-textured backgrounds, wooden bookshelves and spiral-bound notebooks. iOS 7 also heralds the launch of multitasking for all apps, AirDrop wireless file sharing and the iTunes Radio streaming music service.

For more:
- read this Wall Street Journal article

Special Report: Apple iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C: Complete coverage

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