Has this Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) researcher found definitive evidence for Apple’s rumored iPhone 5S fingerprint sensor? Hamza Sood has discovered a folder hidden in iOS 7 beta 4 that is labeled “BiometricKitUI.axbundle.” The researcher found text strings in the folder that describe a “Photo of a person holding an iPhone with their right hand while touching the Home button with their thumb.”
This discovery seems to suggest Apple has already incorporated the software for its long-rumored fingerprint sensor into its latest mobile operating system. The description of the Home button as a fingerprint reader also lends new credence to previous leaks that depicted a new iPhone home button with a transparent Apple logo.
The coding is a tantalizing hint that Apple may be planning to unveil a fingerprint scanner feature for its next-generation of iPhone. The Cupertino-based company has been rumored to be working on an iPhone fingerprint sensor ever since it bought AuthenTec last summer. AuthenTec is a mobile and network security company that is well-known for its patented fingerprint sensor technology.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has long predicted that the iPhone 5S will include a fingerprint sensor. However, a recent research note from Kuo via Apple Insider stated that the iPhone 5S may have a limited availability after its initial launch due to unspecified production difficulties. Although Kuo did not mention whether the production issue was related to the fingerprint sensor technology, another report from Patently Apple suggested that there is an industry-wide shortage of fingerprint sensor chips.
This is not the first latent feature that Hamza Sood has discovered in iOS 7. Sood has previously uncovered an integrated LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) application and an offline dictation capability in beta versions of Apple’s newest mobile operating system.
Here’s how Apple closed out the trading week.
Follow Nathanael on Twitter (@ArnoldEtan_WSCS)