Here are your Apple rumors and AAPL news items for today:
Hints: The home button on Apple‘s (AAPL) upcoming iPhone will double as a fingerprint reader, AppleInsider notes. Rumors have circulated for months that Apple will include a fingerprint sensor in its new iPhone, adopting technology it acquired when it purchased security firm AuthenTec last year. However, an analysis of coding in the latest beta release of iOS 7 appears to confirm the fingerprint reader’s presence. Included in the coding is a folder called BiometricKitUl.axb. Text associated with the folder describes an image showing a person “holding an iPhone with their right hand while touching the Home button with their thumb.” Other text indicates that the sensor will scan fingerprints and notify users when finished. A fingerprint scanner would likely be used as an anti-theft measure and possibly as a way to offer security for a mobile payments system.
Travel: Apple CEO Tim Cook has made a personal appearance at negotiations between the iPhone-maker and at least one Chinese wireless carrier, 9to5Mac notes. Cook visited China to meet with executives from China Telecom (CHA), according to Chinese media sources. He may also have attended meetings with China Mobile (CHL) and China Unicom (CHU). China Telecom and China Unicom already carry the iPhone while China Mobile, the world’s largest wireless carrier, does not. The topics discussed with China Telecom were not disclosed. However, it is likely that Cook’s visit was made in ahead of the launch of Apple’s much-anticipated lower cost iPhone, which is aimed at developing markets like China. Apple has faced rising competition in the Chinese smartphone market as well as labor issues and a failure to negotiate a deal with China Mobile to carry the iPhone.
Rise: Apple’s share of the smartphone market is rising in a number of critical markets, Forbes notes. Data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech indicates that in June the iPhone increased its presence in the U.S., France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and metropolitan areas of China. According to Kantar’s estimates the iPhone 5, which was released last year, continued to gain ground despite a recent flurry of smartphone launches by rivals. In the U.S., the iPhone claimed a 42.5% share of the smartphone market, up from 41.9% in May. By contrast, the share of the market held by smartphones running Google‘s (GOOG) Android fell to 51.5% in June, from 52% in May. In Britain, France, Germany, Spain and Italy, the iPhone rose from a 17.8% share of the smartphone market in May, to 18.5% in June. In China, the iPhone’s smartphone market share rose to 24.7% in June, climbing from 23.6% in May.
For more about the company, check out our previous Apple Rumors stories.