Apple Concept of Facial Recognition Could Hint at "iPhone 8"
Apple is adding to its existing patents for automatically unlocking an iPhone using facial recognition, according to a patent application published on Thursday, revealing the Cupertino firm is still refining alternative methods of biometric security it could use in future mobile devices.
Published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the application for "Locking and unlocking a mobile device using facial recognition" is noted as a continuation to an earlier patent of the same name granted in 2016. In turn, this earlier patent builds upon work in a patent granted in 2015, initially applied for in 2012, bearing an identical name, with the latest version streamlining the patent with a series of small changes. .
The core idea of the patent is that an iPhone uses the front-facing camera to detect and recognize the user's face, unlocking the device if the face it sees belongs to the authorized device owner.
Facial recognition is thought to be arriving in the rumored "iPhone 8," a third iPhone believed to be arriving later this year as part of the ten-year anniversary for the mobile device. Unlike the application's reliance on a camera, rumors suggest the "iPhone 8" could include a 3D laser scanning module, which could be used for advanced facial recognition on the high-specification smartphone.
Initially filed on September 26, 2016, the patent application lists Lihua Zhao and Richard Tsai as its inventors.
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