July 30, 2013 — -- It's about to be August, which means vacation, the U.S. Open, back-to-school preparation and iPhone rumors.
With Apple expected to release a new iPhone in September, new reports indicate that the next version -- assumed to be called the iPhone 5S -- will have a fingerprint reader. There is also mounting evidence that the company will release a cheaper, plastic version of the iPhone to appeal to the lower end of the phone market.
On Monday, Apple released a new version of the iOS 7 Beta software to app developers. iOS 7, which Apple previewed back in June, has a radically different design and some new features, including new Siri voices and a control center with easy access to settings menus.
According to 9to5Mac the new beta version of the software also contains some clues about Apple's plans to include a fingerprint sensor in the phone.
According to an iOS developer, there is a folder called "biometrickitUI" in the code. The software code also mentions "a fingerprint that changes colour during the setup process."
9to5Mac also reported that a source familiar with the new iPhone said that the fingerprint implementation has been complete.
When reached by ABC News, Apple declined to comment on the new iPhone reports, however, last year, the company acquired AuthenTec, a company that makes hardware security sensors. This type of functionality would add an extra level of protection to the information on one's smartphone.
On the software front, Apple has said that iOS 7 will include an advanced security feature that will require one's Apple ID and password for a phone to be wiped. If an iPhone is lost or stolen, thieves won't be able to wipe the device without that information. The feature, Apple hopes, will deter the increasing number of iPhone thefts, also known as "Apple picking" incidents.
In addition to the fingerprint rumors, there is speculation about Apple's long-rumored, lower-cost iPhone. Purported images of the plastic phone's packaging have been posted on a French site, Nowhereelse.fr, and show the name iPhone 5C on the box. Macrumors suggests that the C stands for "colors," rather than "cheap." Previous reports indicated that Apple was working on a cheaper phone that would be available in a variety of colors.
Adding to the evidence of the cheaper phone, the group China Labor Watch posted a report on the working conditions at Apple's Pegatron factory that mentioned a plastic phone.
"Today's work is to paste protective film on the iPhone's plastic back cover to prevent it from being scratched on assembly lines. This iPhone model with a plastic cover will soon be released on the market by Apple," the report read.
The current iPhone 5 is made out of aluminum and glass.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said last week during its earnings report that the company was working on many new "amazing products" that would be introduced "in the fall and across 2014."