The flagship feature of the iPhone 5s is the new Touch ID fingerprint sensor, and we’re beginning to get a better idea of how it works.
It appears Apple has designed Touch ID to be faster than entering a four-digit passcode, stating in its marketing materials that using Touch ID is “faster, easier, and even a little futuristic”. It will allow users to store up to five fingerprints, allowing other trusted users access to a locked phone.
Put your finger on the Home button, and just like that your iPhone unlocks. It’s a convenient and highly secure way to access your phone. Your fingerprint can also approve purchases from iTunes Store, the App Store, and the iBooks Store, so you don’t have to enter your password. And Touch ID is capable of 360-degree readability. Which means no matter what its orientation — portrait, landscape, or anything in between — your iPhone reads your fingerprint and knows who you are.
Financial Times reporter Tim Bradshaw shared this video showing how the iPhone learns a fingerprint by scanning a finger a half-dozen times.
TechCrunch wrote that once a fingerprint was successfully learned, “it worked flawlessly to unlock the device for every subsequent trial.”
Also, AllThingsD reports that third-party developers will not get access to the fingerprint authentication protocol, at least not initially.
The iPhone 5s will cost $199, $299, and $399 for the 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB models respectively with a 2-year contract. Non-contract, unlocked devices will be available at launch for $649/$749/$849.
The iPhone 5s and the lower-cost iPhone 5c – which does not have Touch ID — will be available in stores in the US, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore, and the UK starting on September 20.
Notably, there will be no preorders for the iPhone 5s.
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