The next version of the iOS operating system contains software support for a fingerprint scanner that will be built into the next gen iPhone and iPad’s home buttons, if testing passes the usual QC hurdles.
The current beta version of iOS 7 describes the process of enrolling a fingerprint for authentication. If it proves stable (and fingerprint scanners in wide scale consumer applications are generally not – does anyone remember “Pay-by-Touch?), the most likely use will be to allow consumers to unlock their iPhone 5S. It may also support unlocking other sensitive data such as passwords and credit card details.
Apple already plans to store payment credentials to support online shopping with its soon-to-be-released iCloud Keychain which encrypts and stores passwords, credit card numbers and expiration dates, but not credit card security codes.
I’m looking forward to giving my new iPhone 5S my finger when it’s released in September.