Sood told 9to5Mac that the text in the <string> tags in the image “are what an iPhone with VoiceOver on would read to a user.” 9to5Mac also reported that another source told them that “the user-interface for the fingerprint scanning system has been complete.” If this is to be believed, then these text strings describe the images in an on-screen tutorial instructing users how to touch the home button on an iPhone to scan their fingerprint to unlock the phone. Apparently the image of a fingerprint (whether generic or particular) appears on the screen and changes color during the recognition process (Sood, being in London ostensibly has the UK version of iOS that spells this as “colour.”) This second source also told 9to5Mac that “the technology is focused around unlocking the phone, so it is unclear if it is built for a payment system (as rumored) in the next iPhone.”
That next iPhone has been rumored to make use of the fingerprint recognition technology that Apple has acquired from AuthenTec. If iOS 7 supports fingerprint recognition using the home button, that would further suggest that this rumor is true.
But it’s potentially even more interesting than that. As Bulgarian designer/developer Pavel Simeonov just tweeted, “Fingerprint sensor in iPhone 5S is much more than a gimmick. This + iCloud keychain = end of passwords.” So this is not just about security, but also convenience. If iCloud keychain converts and safeguards all of your passwords that you—and only you—can access via your iPhone, then Apple will have scored a tremendous usability coup that potentially makes its phone the key to your life—quite literally. These 14 lines of code could indeed have big implications!