Sonny Dickson

Is this the fingerprint sensor on Apple's unreleased iPhone 5S?

September 5, 2013: 10:44 AM ET

Leaked photos of the new home button hardware don't look much like the old.

Photo: Sonny DIckson

Purported iPhone 5S home button hardware. Photo: Sonny DIckson. Click to enalrge.

iPhone 5 home button hardware. Photo: iFixit

iPhone 5 home button hardware. Photo: iFixit

FORTUNE -- Ever since July 2012, when Apple (AAPL) acquired AuthenTec for $356 million, Apple watchers have assumed that AuthenTec's fingerprint recognition technology would some day find its way into the home button of the company's iOS devices.

It hasn't happened yet, but the chances that we'll see some form of fingerprint recognition in one or both of the iPhones expected to be unveiled on Sept. 10 increased Thursday when Sonny Dickson, this year's king of the purloined iPhone part, released the photo above of what he says is the fingerprint scanner of an iPhone 5S.

It's impossible to say in advance what's going on in the chips that hang off that cable, but there's clearly more to this part than the home button ribbon from a dismembered iPhone 5 pictured at right.

NOTE: The market appeal of fingerprint identification on a smartphone has yet to be proved. CNN Money's Ben Baer points out that nearly two years ago Fujitsu began offering AuthenTec's technology on the phones it made for NTT DoCoMo. But the devices never made much of a splash outside Fujitsu's native Japan.

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