The next iPhone’s killer feature? Fingerprint scanning.

By , Apr 12, 2013

Fingerprint scanning 002

Most analysts tend to pull their predictions out of thin air. We were cagey about last month’s Morgan Stanley report as it rather cryptically asserts Apple’s next iPhone, the iPhone 5S, will have a “killer feature.” Of course it will, stupid – every iPhone has at least one standout feature cunningly designed to convince existing users to upgrade.

The iPhone 3G had 3G networking, the iPhone 3GS had video, the iPhone 4 had the stunning form factor and Retina display and the iPhone 4S had Siri.

As for the current iPhone 5, it of course offers LTE and sports the dramatic two-tone design akin to a finely crafted watch. According to a rather reliable analyst, this year’s S-upgrade to Apple’s handset will have fingerprint scanning as an exclusive feature…

Business Insider relays a note by Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White, who’s currently touring Asia and talking to Apple’s many suppliers:

We believe fingerprint identification technology will be part of the iPhone 5S and this is likely to be the major new feature used to market the iPhone 5S, similar to what Siri was to the iPhone 4S.

Pundit and tech journalist MG Siegler heard the same, according to this Branch thread:

Since we’re talking whispers, the one thing I’ve heard multiple times now is about some sort of biometric scanner on the new iPhone.

Perhaps not surprising given the AuthenTec buy – but surprised it would be this soon. Still, have heard it could be a big part of not only authentication, but payments of some sort (maybe even through Passbook) down the road.

The most intriguing whisper: that Apple could charge a fee for devs to use it. 

Fingerprint scanning is hardly a novelty, but same could be said for voice-activated personal assistants, for example. Yet, Apple with the introduction of Siri has captured our attention like no other company before, simply because the feature has everything ordinary voice-activated assistant still cannot do.

Be that as it may, how Apple chooses to implement fingerprint scanning on the iPhone may be its make or break moment.

iPhone 5S fingerprint sensor (KGI Securities 001)

White previously claimed a fingerprint sensor on the iPhone will be devoted to “essential security purposes,” letting one get rid of passwords for good. One particularly reliable analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, says Apple will integrate a fingerprint sensor right beneath the Home button.

Other devices usually have a dedicated area for fingerprint scanning. Apple’s Home button integration, Kuo argues, could leave competing products with “intuition issues due to excess buttons.”

In contrast, many Android and Windows Phone devices have more than one button below the display, and those buttons frequently lack the mechanical push of Apple’s home button.

As a result, attempts to integrate fingerprint scanning on competing devices would be less intuitive, and could frustrate users, Kuo said.

Unfortunately, Kuo wrote yesterday that upcoming iPhones and iPads will likely be delayed until Fall due to a number of technical and production issues.

Apple last summer bought smart sensor maker AuthenTec, sparking speculation that future iOS devices could adopt fingerprint sensors. The company has since been hiring software engineers for its new fingerprint sensor team.

Clearly, Apple has big plans in this space so fingerprint scanning could turn out to be a much bigger feature than anyone anticipated.

Just imagine: instead of giving out apps and web sites your passwords, you’d simply put your thumb on the Home button in order to authenticate yourself quickly and effortlessly, with strong biometric-grade security.

How cool would that be?

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  • Matthieu

    Your picture of “Windows Phone” is a fake !! it’s a screenshot of a Sense UI on Android… Shame on you.

    • tskwierc

      Lol idownloadblog was not the source of the photo looks like a pull from the original article.

    • Om Soni

      It’s from KGI Research. Do you actually believe that Christian posted it?

      • Dylan Lane C. Knox

        he did post it..

    • Dylan Lane C. Knox

      yea wtf like Seriously? couldn’t even Google an image of “Windows Phone 8”?? And those who thumbed you comment down i laugh at

  • Guest69

    I really hope it is not just an alternative to “slide to unlock” and it has other purposes like… I don’t know. Surprise me Apple.

    • JoblessGuy2

      Definitely not. One of the biggest advantages should, hopefully, be 1Password or Dashlane integration. Imagine having the required forms filled out at the scan of a finger! No more log-in worries, no more forgotten passwords!

      • Kartik Dhawan

        Well you have a point.
        But according to me it’ll be great if apple features smoothing like scan Your passbook e-card put your finger on the scanner (maybe also high security password too) and tadaa,
        payment made…

    • Kurt

      Here’s a YouTube video of the Motorola Atrix 4G from more than 2 years ago. It’s pretty cool to be able to unlock your phone with your fingerprint. Not important to me personally, but I would like to have that feature nonetheless.


    • Joe Jonsen

      like….umm… yeah its useless…

  • PersianHawkes

    Is a fingerprint sensor really necessary? I mean the time it takes to scan and read you could have already accomplished it by typing, sliding, etc.

    • Kartik Dhawan

      Nope it’s Apple Bro they’ll obviously make it faster or if a faster one is available they’ll install it as the iPhone 5S seriously needs a so called ‘KILLER’ feature to capture the market again.

      • PersianHawkes

        I doubt it will be faster than typing, sliding, etc.

    • Vitaliy Anonymous

      Actually one of my friends has an Android device (dangerous word here), and the fingerprint scanner is on the back of the phone on top.

      It is quite simple and faster than slide to unlock. He hits the power button, and slides with his index finder.

    • Joe Jonsen

      great post

  • makubot

    No thanks. This is their way of building a mass data base of finger prints without having to arrest the whole population. Do we even need police anymore if they never have to do their jobs anymore?!! Really!

    • Dylan Lane C. Knox

      come on really? why do people always think companies implement features solely to steal your information or to use you or to harm you? Trust me, i could find out everything about you with just your full name, or email. Who ever wants or needs your information about you can already get it super easy, people need to grow up a little. Yea it’s kind of sketchy, but do you realize where technology is heading?

      • Joe Jonsen

        he is right though… you are giving you identity to the cooperation

      • Micaiah Martin

        Doesn’t matter I don’t exist to the cooperation.

      • Joe Jonsen

        but the govt owns them and your identity

      • Micaiah Martin

        Not mine, I have no identity.

      • Joe Jonsen


      • Micaiah Martin

        But yeah, I totally agree that this will be implemented for use to give your fingerprint to some government agency. It may just be me being paranoid but still if your device is connected to Internet then none of the data is safe on it. Lets just hope someone will come out with a jailbreak tweak that secures your data and doesn’t allow any unknown connections out. Something that encrypts your data too with a really high code.

      • EpicFacepalm

        I completely disagree, except if you are from FBI or something. And the whole subject was information leakage to the US Companies (Google, Microsoft, Apple etc.). While your government may have some information about you, it isn’t great when a foreign/international company which has lots of info and sells these infos to other international ad companies. And no, it’s not about age, it is about decisions; whether you are against tracking or not. Simple as that.

    • Joe Jonsen

      10000% true

  • Ignacio Irigoyen

    hm it would worry me, to press the home button without intention as I try to scan my finger print.

    I would be much cooler if the scanner was in the screen and automatcly can your finger print as you slide to unlock!

    • Joe Jonsen

      very very true

    • JoblessGuy2

      While ideally, we’d all want that, I’d afraid it just isn’t too practical to even have a sensor embedded underneath the screen, let alone have it recognize your fingerprint as your finger moves.

      The home button really looks like it was made with an eventual fingerprint sensor in mind.

  • Patrick

    this will be awwwwsome

  • f5faith

    I don’t know about having fingerprint scans~ I have fairly dry hands and so yeah skins cracks are going to be fun~ not gonna like this at all

    • Vitaliy Anonymous

      That’s when “Slide to Unlock” comes to place.

      • f5faith

        XD basically I’ll be using an iPhone 5S with a brand new feature I’m can’t using haha~

    • Joe Jonsen

      ur ashy…olololool

      • f5faith

        a lil’ bit yeah lol

  • Joe Jonsen

    its lame and i will turn it off but many folks will have their fingers cut off by jealous BFs and husbands and wivers and GFs…lol

    • YzMENTALzY

      Took the words right out of my mouth lol theives will be stealing iphones and cutting victims fingers just to use them lol

  • Micaiah Martin

    Freaking awesome.

  • Markieze Anthony Mitchell

    There is no way in hell this will be ready for the 5s. The 5s is supposed to come out this summer and from a lot of other articles that I have read said that they still have a long way to go. if this is going to be a feature added to iphones then I want them to take the time to perfect it and put it on the 6 instead of rushing it just to make the next iphone again the next best thing although I believe that this next iphone is going to be a huge disappointment to me

    • @dongiuj

      Like you said “from articles that you have read”. How well do the people writing those articles really know about this tech on phones? I know fingerprint scanning is already on smartphones. Has been since last year in Japan.

      • Kurt

        Motorola Atrix 4G has had it for more than 2 years. Here’s a video on YouTube. I like it. But I’m still switching to Note 3 when it comes out.


    • Joe Jonsen

      duhhhh..”S” models are always a let down..

      • f5faith

        Apart from 3GS that was the only big leap ‘S’ models ever made~ 3GS to me is by far the best iPhone.

      • Joe Jonsen

        3gS did get me to jump too iphone BUT ….. the best iphone??? no the 5 is the best… but if you dont care about the newest phone then the4S is the best iphone to get…

      • Dylan Lane C. Knox

        The 4s smashed on the 4 performance wise in every way, and the camera was a lot better too.. though i thought the design didn’t need to change, the iPhone is the best looking phone there is, even if i like android’s software.

  • Chindavon

    How about this feature: IPhone gets stolen. Said crook tries to use and it records his fingerprints , and Apple/Police can use this to identify & catch the thief and recover the iPhone at the same time by GPS.

    • Joe Jonsen

      but up to 25 people my touch the phone and all thieves will learn not to touch iphones wi bare hards…duh

      • Quang Truong

        but many of them dont know that. They even dont know iPhone has Find my iPhone app.
        When they try to use the phone, they will have to remove their gloves (and accidentally touch the sensor).
        There is high chance they will touch the sensor if they try to use the phone (at least once).

      • Joe Jonsen

        lol true

      • Dylan Lane C. Knox

        seriously, my iPhone got stolen and they didn’t know that it had GPS. Or that if you take the sim out and restore properly they cant track it. It was a VZW without a sim, so i was luckier than any AT@T customer would have been, but still lol.

  • laszlo gaspar

    It would bring back the wow factor that the iPhone had back in 2010

  • DomPerignon1

    Fingerprint scanning. A “killer feature”? I don’t think so. To me that feature will be completely useless because don’t use/have a lockscreen!

    • Joe Jonsen

      you will when you have no jailbreak..lolol

      • DomPerignon1

        No problem, my next phone will be a Samsung Galaxy, so I couldn’t care less.

      • DomPerignon1

        You’re right! That’s why my next phone will be a Samsung Galaxy and I don’t have to deal with this Apple crap anymore. 6 years in this cat and mouse race is more than enough.

    • MrElectrifyer

      Lol, you don’t use user-names, passwords nor security pins either do you….oh wait.

      • DomPerignon1

        Pal, I don’t care a rat ass about it; by then I’ll be using a new Samsung Galaxy

      • MrElectrifyer

        Who gives a damn if you knock yourself out with a Samsung Galaxy? I’m just pointing out the uses of a fingerprint scanner as you seem to think it’s only for unlocking your Smartphone…

  • Chuck Finley

    Killer feature? More like a gimmick, just like Siri was.

    I used Siri once when I first got my 4S, realised it was completely useless and have never used it again.

    • Joe Jonsen

      im so sad that they didn’t male siri as awesome as it could be pure waisted opportunity

      • Dylan Lane C. Knox

        you wouldnt want that though cuz’ you think theyd steal more of your information.

      • Joe Jonsen

        oh yeah true..lolo

      • Dylan Lane C. Knox


  • seyss


    • ✪ aidan harris ✪

      Fingerprint scanning on its own is probably useless but if this was say linked in with encryption it would be very secure for businesses and consumers to have all files plus the OS encrypted and then decrypt them using your fingerprint. Absolutely no chance of an intruder gaining access to any data or at least making sense of that data without your fingerprint

  • Quang Truong

    It will be named iPhone 5F

    • Joe Jonsen


  • Riza Sps

    An option to disable ” slide to unlock” when the passcode lock is on, will be awsome

  • Kaptivator

    One question…What if my home button breaks?

  • therealjjohnson

    Like in real life…GTFOH with this finger print shit.

    (i had typed much more of a comment but that sums it up perfectly)