iPhone 5S packaging (tweaked Home button, CTechCN.com 001)

We’re just days away from Apple’s big reveal. Oddly enough, there’s been little – if any – credible leaks to support the fingerprint scanning thesis, which analysts and industry insiders alike believe to be the handset’s killer feature. So, either Tim Cook & Co. have tripled-down on secrecy or the rumor-mill has been taking us all for a ride.

Unless someone comes out with a better piece of evidence than these blurred photographs of a supposed iPhone 5S packaging, we’ll have to speculate whether or not anything has changed about the iPhone’s iconic Home button.

Have a closer look at the images right after the break, pinches of salt and everything…

9to5Mac alerts us to the Chinese-language C Technology which this morning published  the images seen top right and below. These questionable shots appear to depict the iPhone 5S in Apple’s standard white box.

But take a closer look at the Home button.

iPhone 5S packaging (tweaked Home button, CTechCN.com 002)

Unlike the current design – the round recessed button with the iconic square icon in the middle – here we have a significant departure. It still looks the same, but the square icon is gone and there’s a noticeable silver ring surrounding the button.

The image seemingly contradicts KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo who claimed the iPhone 5S will have a sapphire-protected convex Home button to support and protect the delicate fingerprint sensor. I was able to confirm with my sources that is not the case.

Sketchy evidence of a fingerprint sensor on the next iPhone includes iOS 7 code strings referencing a “Biometric Kit”. People have also found another reference of an image of a person placing their thumb over the Home button for recognition.

Previously leaked parts do indicate the possibility of some sort of a change with the Home button design, quite possibly in order to accommodate a fingerprint sensor.

fingerprint-sensor-concept

One revered analysts believes the fingerprint sensor will initially be used for basic tasks, such as easy device unlocking and user authentication on websites and in apps, with secure mobile payment authentication possibly coming next year.

The extent of the Home button redesign varies wildly, depending on who you ask. Mark Gurman, for example, heard the button looks the same while noting it “could have tweaked etching”.

FOX News reported Clayton Morris was first to speculate that a few silver rings with plain white interiors featured on Apple’s invitation could point to a Home button redesign.

Apple invite (September 10 2013)

“I heard silver ring, but that was in prototypes,” Morris tweeted.

In the below video of his appearance on the web show This Week in Tech, Morris tells host Leo Laporte that he was “unequivocally” certain that the iPhone 5S in fact incorporates a fingerprint sensor beneath the Home button.

“From what I’ve understood it’s an ‘innie,’ and it’s going to have a silver ring around it,” Morris said.

Moreover, the credulous Wall Street Journal cited people familiar with the matter as saying that the high-end iPhone 5S “will include a new feature, a fingerprint sensor,” but not the low-cost iPhone 5C.

Luckily, there won’t be too long a wait until the fingerprint scanning mystery is solved as Apple has scheduled a news conference at its Cupertino headquarters on Tuesday, September 10, which should “brighten everyone’s day”.