New iPhone 5S rumors claim Apple is planning NFC and a fingerprint reader for the iPhone 5S. The pairing would allow Apple to add support for mobile payments with the added security of a biometric authentication.
Rumors of an iPhone 5S with a fingerprint reader trace back to before the iPhone 5 launch and recently KGI Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reiterated that he expects a Fingerprint reader built-in to the home button on the iPhone 5S.
A new rumor out of China, by way of Macotakara, claims Apple is also planning to put an NFC chip inside the iPhone 5S, which would allow the iPhone 5S to support mobile payments at many retailers which support NFC payments.
Apple’s $356 million Authentec purchase in 2012 set the company up for a more secure iPhone 5S. Authentec was best known for mobile biometric security before the Apple purchase. The technology would allow Apple to build a more secure iPhone, something likely important to consumers before they will adopt mobile payments.
If Apple is planning mobile payments as part of the Phone 5S we could see hints of the plan in any IOS 7 betas, which could likely include components to work with the security measures. Apple would also likely update Passbook to handle more than tickets, gift cards and coupons.
Shortly after the iPhone 5 launch, Senior VP of Apple, Phil Schiller dismissed the need for NFC, telling AllThingsD, “Passbook does the kinds of things customers need today.” This wouldn’t be the first time Apple reversed course when the technology was ready and demand from consumers hit critical mass.
The iPhone 5S is rumored as a small upgrade to the iPhone 5, with minimal design changes. Previous rumors from Asia indicated a chance of built-in wireless charging. It is more likely that Apple will announce the iPhone 5S with a fingerprint reader and NFC than one with wireless charging.
The rumored Broadcom chip for the iPhone 5S does not include NFC, but it is possible that Apple could supplement this with the NFC chip from ChipBond.
Apple is rumored to hold an event in April to announce the iPad 5 and iPad mini 2, but the iPhone 5S release date is currently rumored for this summer. Conflicting reports indicate the iPhone 5S release is set for June, July or August. All of these are ahead of the fall release cycle Apple used in 2011 and 2012, but not far off from WWDC and Apple’s original summer launch cycle.
Additional iPhone 5S rumors suggest Apple could offer the iPhone 5S in colors and may upgrade the rear facing camera to better compete with the Android competition.