Image: Steve Hemmerstoffer - Nowhereelse.fr Image: Steve Hemmerstoffer - Nowhereelse.fr

Apple’s big day is finally here. But when the new iPhone 5S is announced later today, there may not be many surprises. 

Multiple reports over the last 24 hours have confirmed that the iPhone 5S will have a fingerprint scanner built into the classic “Home” button on Apple’s flagship smartphone. The Wall Street Journal reports that the more expensive of the two iPhones Apple is expected to announce today (the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5C are the presumed names) will have a fingerprint scanner. A leaked user’s manual to French website NoWhereElse.fr also shows the home button doubling as a “Touch ID” sensor. 

A fingerprint sensor has been expected as part of the iPhone 5S for most of the summer after documentation in Apple’s new iOS 7 beta operating system showed support for biometric authentication.

Other new features expected in the iPhone 5S are a dual flash for an upgraded camera, a better computer processor and a version with gold (or gold colored) casing. A bigger and longer last battery could also be a distinct possibility. The screen size or the overall size of the iPhone 5S is not expected to be any bigger, staying at the 4-inches form factor that was introduced in last year’s iPhone 5S. 

A fingerprint scanner could give the new iPhone a unique feature that most other competitor’s smartphones do not employ. The scanner would be use to authenticate a user instead of using a password to unlock the device.

While a fingerprint scanner may not seem like that much of a big deal, the possibilities for such a feature are robust. If a smartphone can know with near 100% certainty that the owner of the device is the person using it (and not a thief or someone that randomly found the smartphone) then it can be used to authenticate a person’s identity for payments (online such as when buying apps from Apple App Store or offline in physical retail stores), gain access to buildings or connect to a secure enterprise network. A fingerprint scanner would also be theoretically easier to use than passwords to unlock the iPhone.

What are you looking for in the iPhone 5S? Let us know what you think in the comments and join our live blog kicking shortly before Apple’s announcement starting at 10 a.m. PDT/1 p.m. EST.