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iPhone 5S to sport Home Button fingerprint scanner, suggests iOS 7 beta 4

Apple’s forthcoming iPhone 5S may sport some rather futuristic features that make it much more than just a minor upgrade over the current iPhone 5, according to code within iOS 7 beta 4.

The latest version of iOS has recently been released for testing to developers and tinkerers to play around with, ahead of its public release, which is expected to take place around September time this year.

As noted by Hamza Sood on Twitter and, soon after, 9to5mac, Apple’s latest test software contains coding which points towards the use of fingerprint scanning. A folder related to biometrics – the identification of humans by their characteristics – can be found in beta version 4 of iOS 7 and within that we can see nods towards the use of fingerprints.

The code pictured seems to be from the initial setup of iOS 7, complete with prompts for the user to touch their left thumb on the home button followed by their left. It seems that a fingerprint icon on the display changes colour to indicate that the phone has read it, then the setup is complete.

Whilst such a feature seems quite whacky and outlandish for Apple, the Cupertino company did acquire AuthenTec – a company who specialises in fingerprint sensors – in 2012 and is yet to have put the resources to any notable use.

The feature has been rumoured in the past, with sources suggesting that the fingerprint sensor became tricky for Apple to implement well. The home button itself on Apple’s products is known to become a little wobbly over time and can eventually stop working, so we’re intrigued to see how well the sensor can be implemented without causing further complications. Perhaps its addition will render the wobbly button a thing of the past – who knows.

Would you love a fingerprint scanner on your next iPhone or would you prefer to stick to good old slide to unlock?