Yesterday we posted two low-resolution photos of the purported iPhone 5S Box, causing the authenticity of the photos to be questioned by many media outlets. Today we have four high-resolution images of the iPhone 5S box from the same source. And based on new details presented by these images and various reports, it’s almost certain that this leak is that of a genuine iPhone 5S box.
For starters, high-resolution photos clearly show the name of the next generation iPhone printed on the side the box in true Apple style. Additionally, we have the image of the iPhone printed on the top with what appears to be the a redesigned Home button, which may also function as a fingerprint scanner.
The use of a fingerprint scanner in the next generation iPhone has recently been called into question by Biometric expect Geppy Parziale in a recent blog post. Parziale said Apple will find it difficult to bring this functionality to the iPhone without compromising the user experience of the product.
Geppy Parziale: “Let’s take a look at the most critical component of the entire fingerprint recognition process: the sensor. Recognition is highly dependent on the quality of the captured fingerprint image as in less noise, and better image. The core technology used to manufacture the sensors can introduce noise and errors on the captured fingerprint image, influencing the recognition to such a negative extreme that you could be continually rejected by the system (false rejection) or somebody else could be granted access to the system instead of you (false acceptance).”
Geppy Parziale concluded his piece by stating: “Unfortunately there is no existing solution to this. Manufacturers can only try to make the fingerprint sensor last longer, but sooner or later that device will stop working properly. This is also why Apple cannot provide a fingerprint sensor for payments. And if they do, they are making a huge mistake, because the surface destruction process explained above introduces the most dangerous problem in fingerprint recognition: false acceptance, when after a while somebody else can be granted access to your device.”
However, AppleInsider has published a very insightful article describing the fingerprint technology developed by AuthenTec, a biometric security company, which was bought by Apple last year. The article suggests that AuthenTec’s fingerprint technology will overcome many of the limitations Geppy Parziale discussed in his piece.
Mikey Campbell of AppleInsider on the fingerprint technology Apple is likely to use in their next-generation iPhone:
There stands a variety of ways to accomplish biometric fingerprint readings, including the stereotypical “swiping” motion made famous in movies, as well as methods using optical, thermal, pressure and capacitive measurements, among others. AuthenTec, which Apple purchased in 2012 for $356 million, uses a few different capture methods in its products, though the tech most likely to be used in the iPhone doesn’t involve swiping.Typical methods of swipe authentication, usually direct capacitance, involve a thin “strip” sensor that captures and stitches together multiple images of a fingerprint as a user sweeps their finger across the sensing plate. With direct capacitance, an electrical field is applied to the sensor, which detects ridges and valleys — the skin structures that form fingerprint whorls — by measuring variations in capacitance at the sensor plate. Lower capacitance denotes skin that is farther from the sensor, or valleys, while higher capacitance is associated with ridges.
A more accurate and robust method of capture is called radio frequency field sensing, or AC capacitance. Like direct capacitive sensing, this technique also measures capacitance of a sort, but the similarities end there. Instead of measuring the effect on an electrical field, a low frequency RF signal is inserted into the finger and received by the sensor. In this case, RF signal strength captured by the pixel traces are measured and the corresponding data is translated to form an image of the print.
Benefits of RF field/AC capacitance sensing include static non-swipe readings, resistance to dust and capability for the sensor to operate even when covered by layers of protective material. These types of sensors are usually larger in size to allow for a wider capture area.
Additionally, the report also proves that the images in this post are probably genuine based on the presence of a silver ring around the Home button.
According to the report, “In nearly all RF field sensors, a ring disposed around the sensor array acts as the electrode that drives the low frequency RF signal into the finger, which is attenuated by ridges and valleys in the print and finally captured by AC sensors as a high quality image.”