By Alexandra Burlacu | Jul 31, 2013 05:15 AM EDT
The iOS 7 beta 4 is out and it contains references to the rumored fingerprint sensor for the upcoming iPhones, apparently confirming the feature.
Some code in the newly-released iOS 7 beta 4 seems to confirm rumors that the next-generation iPhone hardware will include a fingerprint sensor in the Home button, likely to beef up security options for the smartphone.
A British programmer named Hamza Sood said he found evidence of support for the rumored fingerprint recognition sensor through the Home button in the latest version of iOS 7 beta released to developers. The code in question was reportedly found in a BiometricKitUI folder within the AccessibilityBundles in the Library directory of iOS 7 beta 4.
Sood told 9to5Mac that the text in the tags "are what an iPhone with VoiceOver on would read to a user." The publication also claims that another source confirmed that "the user-interface for the fingerprint scanning system has been complete."
"This technology is focused around unlocking the phone, so it is unclear if it is built for a payment system (as rumored) in the next iPhone," the second source further told 9to5Mac.
Currently there is no mass-market smartphone available on the market to boast a fingerprint sensor. This means that the technology would give the iPhone significant leverage against its rivals.
A fingerprint sensor in an iPhone or iPad holds great potential not only for end users, but for developers as well. If developers would have access to an application programming interface (API) for the technology they would be able to access the fingerprint sensor from their apps.
Banking and financial apps could greatly benefit from this technology, while large corporations could enjoy increased security to protect the sensitive material and intellectual property that can often be found on company-owned iPhones and iPads. In other words, a fingerprint sensor would be a boon from every point of view, allowing for new security options and more possibilities.
Apple acquired fingerprint sensor company Authentec back in July last year in a $356 million deal and rumors of biometric technology in Apple hardware have been making rounds ever since.
Samsung, meanwhile, has plans of its own when it comes to this technology. The company filed a patent application back in January 2012 and in May this year it obtained patent number 20130129163 for the integration of a fingerprint sensor. The technology could reach the Home buttons of upcoming Galaxy devices. This seems to be the next level of competition between Samsung and Apple and it may well lead to yet another round of legal spats and patent wars between the two companies.
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