Apple has selected the component manufacturer that will provide the touch display driver and chips to support fingerprint sensors and near field communications (NFC) for the iPhone 5S.
According to the most recent report from China Times (Via Macrumors), the iPhone 5S will be the first iPhone to use both NFC and fingerprint scanning technology, solutions provided by Taiwanese chip firm Chipbond.
Rumours of the fingerprint technology coming to the iPhone have been persistent since Apple acquired the mobile security firm Authentec last year. However, this didn’t materialize with the iPhone 5, as Apple moved to increase the display size and switched to in-cell technology instead.
When predicting Apple’s product map for 2013, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo stated that the fingerprint sensor would be one of the key features of the iPhone 5S.
NFC was also rumoured to come to the iPhone. This was the buzzworld of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this year, but this doesn’t mean Apple is ready to adopt it – despite owning several patents that include the NFC keyword. The recent report is the first one stating the next generation iPhone will sport an NFC chip.
Although it owns several patents for an iWallet, Apple proceeded by launching the Passbook app first with iOS 6, an app that acts like a digital wallet for passes, coupons and loyalty cards. In its current form, the iPhone isn’t ready to act as an iWallet, the step needed for Apple’s entrance into the mobile payment market (see passcode lock security flaws).
But if the iPhone 5S fingerprint sensor rumours are true, this could add another layer of security for Apple’s iPhone, preparing the device to enter into the mobile payment market. Which makes me think that – based on the naming pattern Apple has used with S series handsets iPhone 3GS[peed], iPhone 4S[iri] – for the iPhone 5S, “S” could stand for “security”.