The iPhone 5S could come with a sapphire crystal capacitive touch home button that incorporates a new fingerprint sensor, according to supply chain sources in Taiwan.
Apple is expected to do away with the traditional physical home button, which has long been one of the most unreliable components on iOS devices. It’s thought that using sapphire crystal, which has a hardness second only to diamond, will prevent the button from getting scratched and ruining the fingerprint sensor.
This wouldn’t be the first time Apple has used sapphire crystal in an iPhone. The iPhone 5 has a sapphire crystal camera lens on its back, which Apple chose to try to prevent scratches from ruining your photos.
And according to Taiwanese website TechNews, which claims to have been speaking to sources in Apple’s supply chain, the Cupertino company will choose the same material for the iPhone 5S’s home button.
But it won’t be a physical button like existing iOS devices. They insist Apple will employ a capacitive touch home button for the first time with the iPhone 5S, eliminating one of the most unreliable components in an iOS device (the physical home button has a tendency to fail after long periods of use).
Not only will it be a capacitive touch button, but it’ll also incorporate a fingerprint sensor, the sources claim. We’ve been hearing for many months that Apple will add fingerprint sensing technology to the iPhone 5S, following its acquisition of AuthenTec last year.
As for the handset’s release date, TechNews reports that it’ll arrive in August or September, alongside a plastic low-cost iPhone.