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Monday, 28 April 2014 14:23

Apple's next iPads to feature fingerprint sensor Featured

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The iPad air teardown The iPad air teardown iFixit

Apple's next iPad refresh is on the horizon and a new discovery today is pointing to the next Air and iPad Mini including Apple's Touch ID fingerprint sensor, like that seen on the iPhone.

The source of the speculation is Apple's next iOS update - 7.1 - which has been found to include code referring to the iPad range in code specifically related to Touch ID.

The code was found by developer Pierre Blazquez, also known by the alias UNiCORN, who looked around Apple'sTouch ID framework in iOS 7.1, discovering a reference to the iPad.

As reported by AppleInsider the code for Apple's "BiometricKit" refers to the "UIDeviceFamily" with two identifiers: The number "1" for the iPhone lineup, and the number "2" for iPad.

"The integers refer to the entire product lineups, so the code doesn't make any distinction between, for example, a future iPad Air or iPad mini," AppleInsider said.

While Touch ID currently only allows users to unlock their iPhone or authorize iTunes purchases, Apple CEO Tim Cook has suggested mobile payments, like capability seen in Samsung's Galaxy S5, could be on the near horizon.

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities previously speculated just this month that Apple would be bringing its next iPads into line with the iPhone by including fingerprint sensors, adding that the new tablets will be powered by next-generation custom "A8" processors built by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.

“We previously thought Apple would not release a new version of the iPad mini this year, but we now think Apple will launch an upgraded version with same form factor, A8 processor and Touch ID (fingerprint recognition) to boost shipments of iPad mini with Retina display,” he said.

Kuo said he anticipates the next iPads, which will face strong competition from Android rivals, to be announced either late in the third quarter or early in the fourth quarter of calendar 2014.

He also expects a so-called "iPad Air 2" to feature an 8-megapixel rear facing camera.

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