Will This Be the Centerpiece Feature of the iPhone 5S?

Will a fingerprint sensor be the next revolutionary technology feature of the new iPhone? Fans and analysts of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) are certain that the Cupertino-based company is on the verge of launching the next iteration of the iPhone.

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The only uncertainty on everyone’s mind is what the technological centerpiece of the new iPhone 5S will be. Siri, the intelligent natural language personal assistant, made the iPhone 4S a must-have product for smart phone users. What innovative feature will make the iPhone 5S another must-have product this year?

Last summer Apple bought AuthenTec, a mobile and network security company, reports Chris Ciaccia at The Street. According to Darrell Etherington at TechCrunch, part of AuthenTec’s original business was “providing embedded security solutions, including encryption algorithms and other protections to a variety of mobile device makers including LG, Motorola (NYSE:MSI), Samsung (SSNLF.PK) and Nokia (NYSE:NOK).” However, that division of the company was sold off, which suggests that Apple’s primary interest lay in AuthenTec’s patented fingerprint sensor technology.

Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) analyst Maynard Um believes that Apple will use AuthenTec’s fingerprint sensor technology in the iPhone 5S, either as a way to unlock the phone or a method of processing payments reports The Street. Um states in a note to investors via The Street that, “We believe this deal signals the potential for fingerprint sensors in upcoming Apple devices, which not only increases device security, but could also be a mechanism to assure security needed to execute mobile payments on iPhones. We see this as likely one of the primary reasons for the acquisition”…

Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White, who recently attended an industry trade show in China, agrees with Um based on conversations he had at the tradeshow with Apple vendors and suppliers. Via Apple Insider, White states that the fingerprint sensor will be “the major new feature used to market the iPhone 5S, similar to what Siri was to the iPhone 4S.” He believes this fingerprint sensor will be located below the phone’s home button.

As a significant revenue source for Apple’s business, a new iPhone with a fingerprint scanning function could soon give Apple’s slumping share price a major boost.

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