Why it's nearly time for Touch ID on all new iPhones

A picture of an apparent iPhone 5c with Touch ID could be a foreshadowing of what's likely coming this fall: A fingerprint sensor on every new iPhone.

Peek at the online Apple Store and you'll see four iPhone models, three of which have the company's Touch ID sensor on them. That will likely change when Apple introduces its newest iPhone model later this year, possibly in August.

Apple Insider caught this image on Apple's online store, which appears to show an iPhone 5c with the Touch ID home button. Except the current iPhone 5c doesn't actually have Touch ID.

iphone-5c-touch-id.jpg
Image: Apple Insider

It makes sense that it will in a few months, or rather, the iPhone model that replaces the 5c at the bottom of the lineup will.

The current 5c has the same components as the older iPhone 5 but with a plastic cover in the buyer's choice of color. The company could keep the 5c name but the lowest-priced handset would likely have the same internals as the current 5s, which actually does have Touch ID support.

I'd expect one other possible change as well.

Instead of simply taking the iPhone 5s and adding a plastic colored back cover to it, it makes sense for Apple to also add an NFC chip to the low-end model.

That would bring in-store use of Apple Pay to all new iPhone owners since the current iPhone 6 and 6 Plus already support it. Obviously, any newer models -- say an iPhone 6s and 6s Plus -- would also work with Apple's mobile payment system.

Putting more phones capable of using Apple Pay in stores would dovetail nicely with the rising number of retail locations that work with the service.

On the company's most recent quarterly investor call, Apple CEO Tim Cook noted that 700,000 retailers accept Apple Pay and that number will soon be growing: Best Buy, for example, has since decided to add Apple Pay to its stores, even though the company originally chose another mobile payment provider that uses QR codes.

Additional locations for Apple Pay will surely help adoption of the digital wallet service. Making sure all of its new iPhones - even the lowest priced models -- work with Apple Pay will only help speed that adoption even faster.

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