Apple are looking into the face recognition unlock technology used by Android devices to unlock a phone lock screen . Although not a feature that most iPhone users would say is something they essentially want to see on a new iPhone compared to, for example, an upgraded maps app, it is not something they seem to be researching just for the fun of it.
How Face Unlock Works : Video
The iOS 6 update saw ‘Find My Phone’ added to the devices features something that can be used to remotely track your phone, lock it, erase the data or, if it’s in the vicinity, make a noise for easier detection. So any update that comes out in the future containing facial recognition is most likely going to have some added security factor – rather than just being a flashy add-on.
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Similar to Samsung’s eye movement tracking the patent that has been filed by Apple state:
“The camera capturing and face recognition processing may be triggered by the device having detected that it has been motionless for a threshold period of time”.
So this could be used for automatic locking when the user has fallen asleep, put their phone to one side or stuffed it in their pocket. Obviously this will cut down on numbers being accidentally called. The patent filing also intimates that the device will capture a series of pictures, and should the user’s face not appear in them the phone would automatically lock itself. Not only an added bonus for security but should also help to keep a phone’s applications out of the reach of a possibly delete-button-happy toddler.
Also stated in the patent:
“In another embodiment, a locked mobile device is configured to capture an initial image using its camera, capture a new image in response to detecting movement of the device, determine that the device moved to a use position, capture a subsequent image in response to determining that the device moved to a use position, analyze the subsequent image to detect a user’s face, and unlock the device in response to detecting the user’s face”.
This would appear that Apple would be looking for an automatic unlock system and one that is not manually triggered by the owner pushing a button.
The new technology could not be expected for at least another year but when, and if, it becomes available user’s can be confident in the knowledge that this won’t just be a quirky idea to sell more handsets but actually a feature that has uses. The effect on the battery life, as well as potential security issues, will no doubt be addressed and resolved before the consumers start to se it on their devices. Apple, criticized for holding ideas back, will certainly to hold on to this one as long as it takes to perfect it.
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