Analyst: iPhone 5S to feature Sapphire-Covered Convex Home Button with Fingerprint Sensor

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Ming-Chi Ku, analyst KGI Securities, who has a good track record when it comes to Apple related rumors, claims in a new research note that the iPhone 5S may include a sapphire-covered convex home button housing a fingerprint sensor.

A convex Home button would be a major change since Apple launched the iPhone in 2007 with its iconic concave Home button. He notes that the convex shape will give Apple enough space to embed the fingerprint sensor.

Here’s an excerpt from his research note courtesy MacRumors:

Convex home button creates space for fingerprint sensor; yield to improve. We think that a fingerprint sensor will be placed under the home button of iPhone 5S. However, assembling it could be difficult as the space under home button is limited as it already has to accommodate the Lightning connector, speaker and microphone. Thus, we think the shape of the home button could be changed from concave to convex to create more space for a fingerprint sensor.

Sapphire prevents home button from being scratched. A convex home button could be more easily scratched, so a harder material is required. We believe Apple will switch from plastic to sapphire, whose hardness is second only to diamond. Sapphire would protect the home button from being scratched and the fingerprint sensor from being damaged.

A convex Home button would be a little odd. We expected the Home button with an embedded fingerprint sensor to be flat, as it would make it easier to swipe on a flat surface to unlock the device, and at the same time making enough space to embed the sensor.

Apple already uses sapphire crystal to protect the iPhone 5′s rear camera lens from scratches, so it won’t be the first time the company is using sapphire in its products. The company’s been experimenting with capacitive home buttons.

Fingerprint sensing, too, is an area of deep interest to Apple, as evident from the company’s “urgent” $356 million purchase of AuthenTec, a security firm specialising in fingerprint sensors.

Ku notes that AuthenTec’s RF and capacitive technology rather than the common optical recognition will give Apple an advantage over its competitors as it would be more reliable and unaffected by dust and other contaminants.

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Back in May, a Taiwanese site had also claimed that iPhone 5S will feature a sapphire covered capacitive home button with fingerprint sensor.

As we reported earlier, Apple will reportedly unveil iPhone 5S at a media event on September 10.

Top image credit: GadgetMac

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