Apple's iPhone 6 could feature a fingerprint scanner, if analysts have correctly interpreted the clues in a new Apple job advert.

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Apple posted a job listing for a software engineer on its US site on Monday, and Apple watchers have been picking over the clues it holds for future projects and product launches. A popular theory suggests Apple is hiring a specialist to work on fingerprint sensing technology, which may appear in the iPhone 6.

Apple says the role will be stationed in Melbourne, Florida. Little is known for certain about Apple's planned Melbourne Design Center, referred to in the job posting as the MDC, but we do know that fingerprint scanning specialist AuthenTec, the security company purchased by Apple last year for $356m, is based there.

One logical conclusion, then, is that Apple is starting up a design centre based on AuthenTec's technologies and facilities in Florida, and that this role - whose development work is specified to include "sensor functions such as array control, gain control, calibration and security" - will join that group in developing biometric security systems.

Apple iPhone 5, 5S, mini concept images

Whether Apple's suspected fingerprint scanning development work will see the light of day in time for the iPhone 6 or iPhone 5S is harder to guess. For one thing, Apple's traditional smartphone update cycle sees more cautious launches - traditionally denoted by an 'S' model name rather than a full number upgrade - alternating between more radical updates. With the iPhone 5 seeing major hardware modifications, many Apple watchers expect the iPhone 5S to involve only iterative internal upgrades, although time will tell.

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In the meantime, iPhone users with the desperate urge to scan fingerprints - not to mention eyeballs and faces - should keep an eye on the work of AOptix, whose Startus hardware add-on transforms the iPhone into a mobile biometric scanner. At the moment it's not exactly suitable for consumers, however - the app that goes with the device costs $199, and we don't even know how much the unit itself costs - so let's keep our fingers crossed that Apple's latest hire is a fast worker.

See also:

iPhone 6 rumours: Fingerprint sensor, NFC e-wallet set to feature in new iPhone

iPhone 6 with fingerprint sensor to launch alongside cheaper iPhone with six colours in June - analyst

Apple's rumoured iPhone 6 fingerprint sensor could spell trouble for competitors