iPhone 5S: Fingerprint scanner issues expected to delay initial shipments

When Apple releases the iPhone 5S, the smartphone will be in short supply due to poor yields of its fingerprint-recognition chips, according to a new report.

The upcoming iPhone 5S is expected to retain the overall design of the iPhone 5, but Apple will reportedly add a feature that will be exclusive to the device. We've seen the company play this hand in the past when it announced the iPhone 4S, which introduced Apple's digital assistant Siri to the world. Siri was an exclusive feature to the 4S and one that Apple used to entice existing and new iPhone owners to purchase the device. The iPhone 5S is rumored to include a biometric fingerprint scanner to justify its 'S' moniker.

A new report from DigiTimes claims that when Apple launches the iPhone 5S, it will be constrained due to low yield-rates for the production of the fingerprint scanner sensor and chips used to power the 5S' display.

"Poor yields of fingerprint-recognition chips and LCD driver ICs will likely force Apple to reduce first-quarter shipments of the rumored iPhone 5S, which is slated for launch in September 2013, according to industry sources. Volume production of fingerprint-recognition and LCD driver chips for the iPhone 5S should have started at the end of June or early in July, but issues related to yield rates will delay commercial production of the two chips to the end of July, therefore affecting the initial supply of the iPhone 5S," reports the publication, citing its own sources.

It is believed that Apple will be using a fingerprint recognition chip designed by AuthenTec, a company Apple acquired in July 2012. Apple was recently issued a patent for a fingerprint scanner that is integrated directly into the bezel of a device, which only helps fuel the rumor that the iPhone 5S will be shipping with a fingerprint scanner.

DigiTimes claims that about 3 million units of the initial shipments will be delayed until the fourth quarter. We'll have to file this in the rumor category for now, as it's always best to take any reported delays in Apple products with a huge grain of salt.

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