Last summer, rumors emerged that the iPhone 5 could come with a fingerprint-based security feature. That didn't happen. When the device was launched last fall, the feature was nowhere to be seen.
Matt Brian at TheNextWeb had put together a compelling argument as to why the device could have come with technology that would associate the user's fingerprint with their identity for use with Passbook. Apple had acquired network security provider AuthenTec, and after digging through various documents and SEC filings, Brian was able to piece together a potential plan for Apple to include fingerprint hardware technology in an upcoming iPhone model.
Since it didn't happen with the iPhone 5, we're now seeing speculation that it could come with what many believe will be called the iPhone 5S (some are still calling it the iPhone 6). This time, AppleInsider's Neil Hughes reports:
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities expects Apple's acquisition of AuthenTec to pay off this year with the so-called "iPhone 5S," the company's anticipated next-generation handset. He believes Apple will find a way to integrate the fingerprint sensor into the home button, allowing Apple to keep its "minimalist design."
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.
Clearly, it's still only speculation, but this has been something that's been expected for a while. It will be interesting to see if Apple goes in this direction, and how competitors respond.
Google is already experimenting with some other innovative security scenarios, as in physical 'keys' to user accounts.