Recently, Apple filed a patent for a program that would allow users to unlock their iPhone or iPad with their face. With this filing, Apple has become a front runner in facial recognition technology for mobile devices. This could result in an upcoming device (iPhone 5?) making Apple a player in facial recognition technology.
The patent, discovered by Apple Insider, covers “Electronic Device Operation Adjustment Based on Face Detection.” In other words, it is a facial recognition security program. For those who don’t know what that is, it is a programs that uses a camera on the device to view your face while look at it. If it recognizes you as the user, it will unlock the device for you.
Although it seems advanced, Apple is not the first company to experiment with it. The Samsung Galaxy Nexus had previously looked in to using facial recognition software, but they are experiencing reliability issues with the software. There are also third party apps that allow this on the iPhone, but many of them have reliability bugs. One of these apps is FaceVault.
Reliability issues is a primary concern for many potential users, including me. I have tried other apps, such as finger print identification apps, and they have all been fairly unreliable. I trust that Apple can produce a good, reliable program, but many questions linger in the back of my head. What happens if a grow facial hair? Could someone access my device by holding up a photo of me? Hopefully, there would be a manual pass-code entry option in case the facial recognition software isn’t working.
Although the app specifies facial recognition software, I am curious about the advent of iris recognition software in Apple devices. This technology, although futuristic, has existed for some time now; however, most of the devices are large and require a specialized camera. Currently, this technology is only found in certain high security applications (such as securing Google’s data centers).
Hopefully, Apple can develop their own facial recognition, and, like most things they create, make it a success. Until then, though, I’m completely happy with a pass-code. Although an iris scanner would be cool…