IPhone 5S to Have Fingerprint Sensor, IPhone Mini to Debut Fall 2013

Fingerprint Scanning in the iPhone 5S

Rumors about the new iPhone continue to abound. KGB Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicts that the new iPhone will be called the “iPhone 5S,” since Apple will do nothing more in the new iPhone but make small-scale changes: faster processor chip (A7), better camera (f2.0 instead of f1.x), possibly taller than the current iPhone 5 (4.5 inches instead of 4), and so on. Apple is known for its small-scale changes, yearly upgrades to its iPhone line that help the company’s products stay competitive against the likes of Google and Samsung. I discussed with a friend some days ago that these small-scale changes will not keep Apple competitive. The company is losing to Android OS, Samsung in particular, and will need to have a new strategy to win consumers in the tech market. Apple has devised a smart strategy: to include a fingerprint sensor into its new iPhone 5S.

The fingerprint sensor (or fingerprint scanner) is one of Apple’s newest technologies that is yet to emerge. The company purchased a security company known as AuthenTec last Fall (2012) and, like Siri, intended to use the company’s technology in its latest iPhones (and possibly its iPads). I predicted that Apple would emerge with the fingerprint sensor in its iPhone 6 (to create hype for the new product), but Apple could bring this forward in its iPhone 5S and have some other surprise in store for its iPhone 6. Apple’s whole rationale behind this purchase was to have “one up” on Samsung, who had a good alliance with AuthenTec – the most compelling reason Apple had to purchase the company, apart from its own desire to place AuthenTec’s fingerprint technology into its products. Apple’s fingerprint sensor would provide some sort of anti-theft detection against iPhone theft, since iPhones have now become one of the most targeted theft objects in the United States.

Apple’s fingerprint sensor is another form of anti-theft detection, apart from Samsung’s “face detection” feature on its Samsung Galaxy S3. The face detection feature works as follows: you take your portrait with the feature and the application remembers your face. When someone else tries to get into your phone, they have to take a picture in order to unlock the phone. If the individual does not look anything like the individual, the phone remains locked. There is a security flaw in face detection, however: if the individual closely resembles you, he or she could unlock your phone and have access to your information. In short, face detection can still leave you open to smartphone theft. A fingerprint sensor, on the other hand, will not. No two individuals in the world have the same set of fingerprints.

While the iPhone 5S looks to improve on Apple’s most-treasured product, the iPhone Mini will be nothing more than an iPhone 5 that has “a somewhat thicker case made of plastic and offer a choice of six colors,” according to CNET’s Lance Whitney. The color rumor was placed on the iPhone 5S, although both the iPhone 5S and the iPhone Mini could come in six to eight colors. The iPhone Mini or lower-cost iPhone could sell for $350-$450 as a factory unlocked smartphone.

The iPhone Mini seems promising, but the price seems to be the only plus going for it. The iPhone, while inexpensive, will not have some of the bells and whistles of the iPhone 5S (a fingerprint sensor, among them). Still, for $350-$450, some can do without them.