Production details for the rumored iPhone 5S fingerprint reader surface in a new note from Ming-Chi Kuo, an Apple analyst who believes Apple may tap a Taiwanese company to make the component.
iPhone 5S rumors claims that Apple is planning to build a fingerprint reader into the iPhone 5S home button. The move is tied to Apple’s purchase of AuthenTec in 2012, a company which developed biometric mobile security.
Apple recently posted a job opening for an engineer to work on biometric authentication, which is late in the cycle for an iPhone 5S release, and we’ve heard from another analyst who thinks the feature is coming on an iPhone 6 model, but Kuo sticks to his predictions and shares more details.
In a note to investors shared on MacRumors, Kuo states that Apple is likely to partner with Taiwanese manufacturers like TSMC to develop part of the iPhone 5S fingerprint reader. A move that would mark another conscious decision to sever ties with Samsung.
While there’s no question that Apple possesses key fingerprint sensor technology, we also think TSMC is a reasonable foundry choice for Apple as it used to serve AuthenTec. We expect Xintec to make the supply chain on its expertise in wafer-level packaging and TSMC is its largest share holder. However, as it was loss-making in 2012, it’s possible Xintec will get capex support from TSMC for the new business.
TSMC is the same company several rumors point to developing the Apple A7 processor in 2014, as Apple attempts to distance itself from rival Samsung. According to a note this morning Kuo believes Apple is planning to stay with Samsung for an A7X processor for the iPad 5, which he says will start production in August or September, highlighting the difficulties of splitting from Samsung.
The iPhone 5S fingerprint reader is the first iPhone 5S rumor we shared at Gotta Be Mobile, tracing back to a report one week before the iPhone 5 launch event. At that time, just as now, Apple’s AuthenTec purchase is one of the key factors.
Kuo’s latest report does offer more information, by naming the potential partners, but it appears these are his predictions and not supply chain details gathered on the ground.
Most of the rumors suggest an iPhone 5S fingerprint reader would be built into the home button, but an early iPhone 5 concept video showed one on the screen of the device.
The iPhone 5S is rumored for a fall or summer launch, which leaves time for speculation and for Apple to firm up details with supply chain partners.