A new part claimed to be the rear panel for Apple's anticipated "iPhone 5S" shows an external design largely unchanged from the iPhone 5, but a number of internal design tweaks, including a modified home button that could potentially accommodate the rumored embedded fingerprint sensor.
In the latest component leak published on Wednesday by Nowhereelse.fr, changes made to the area around the home button are readily apparent when compared side-by-side with the iPhone 5 back panel. In particular, the metal spacer cushion that supports the home button features a new look.
The panel also shows tweaks to the space where the camera would be located, as well as different screw placement along the back of the device.
But the tweaked space for the home button is of particular interest, as Apple is rumored to include a fingerprint sensor in the component of its next-generation flagship iPhone. The feature is expected to be driven by technology from AuthenTec, a company Apple acquired for $356 million last year.
In order to fit the fingerprint sensor inside the home button, well-connected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities claims that the part will now be convex instead of concave, allowing for more space. Kuo also indicated that the home button will be made out of sapphire, because of its resistance to scratches.
References to a fingerprint scanner embedded within an iPhone home button was even discovered in Apple's pre-release beta of iOS 7. A folder found hidden in the test software refers to a "Biometric Kit," while another string of text describes a user touching the home button with their thumb as a status image appears on the device's screen.
As for the changes around the camera, they could hint at an improved LED flash component that Apple is expected to include in its next-generation handset, rumored to be dubbed the "iPhone 5S."
Unfortunately, the metal back component does not include the glass panels for the top and bottom of the device. A separate leak published earlier this week did show that part, revealing the pill-shaped space where Apple is expected to include a dual LED flash for superior photos in low-light scenarios.