The new iOS 7 beta rolled out by Apple on Monday contains significant evidence to support the speculation that the next-generation iPhone, expected to be named the iPhone 5S, will have a fingerprint sensor built-in to the Home button.
A folder called "BiometricKitUI.axb" was spotted in the fourth beta of iOS 7 beta by Hazma Sood, along with an accompanying text string describing an image of "a person holding an iPhone with their right hand while touching the Home button with their thumb." A second image has the same description, but the person holding the iPhone in the opposite hand.
In addition, also described in the text is an image of "a fingerprint that changes colour during the setup process." This will be accompanied by a status indicator that will tell the user when the recognition process is complete.
A fingerprint sensor could be used to help improve the security of the iPhone to allow safer mobile payments. It could also be used in conjunction with Apple's Passbook app.
This is not the first we've heard about the possibility of a fingerprint sensor in the next iPhone. Last year, Apple bought AuthenTec, a company that specialises in security systems such as fingerprint scanners, which sparked speculation about the introduction of such technology in future iOS devices.
An Apple job listing in April also hinted that the company is working on fingerprint sensors for an upcoming device.
Numerous reports have suggested that the introduction of a fingerprint sensor could contribute to delays expected to plague the iPhone 5S. Trusted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities has said that the technology, which is expected to be built underneath the Home button, poses multiple technical challenges for Apple.