May 15, 2017 -
LG Innotek, the components division of LG Group, will be providing facial recognition camera modules for the upcoming iPhone 8, according to a report by Patently Apple.
The report follows ongoing rumors that Apple is potentially integrating facial recognition functionality into the iPhone.
Apple has been developing facial recognition technology as far back as 2011, and received their first two U.S. patents for the feature in 2012. In February, Apple acquired Israeli facial recognition firm RealFace.
The company’s new facility investment is valued at 269.7 billion won (US$238.50 million), which will be dedicated to Apple’s orders. The initial deal with LG Innotek is estimated to be worth 200 billion won (US$177 million).
Apple and LG Innotek first partnered in 2016 to develop the world’s first 3-D facial recognition camera system that can be used for a range of applications, such as biometric authentication and games.
LG Innotek currently provides rear-facing dual-lens camera module for the iPhone 7 and LG G6. The upcoming facial recognition module will be front-facing and more compact than the current one, which is why the company plans to build a new plant to facilitate the production.
If Apple’s new facial recognition feature is included with the iPhone 8 in Q4 2017, it is likely that the company will extend the feature to the iPad and Macs in 2018.
The camera is also likely to be integrated into the majority of Apple’s products within 18-24 months.
Previously reported, Apple added to its existing patents covering technology for automatically unlocking an iPhone using facial recognition, hinting that the company is still finalizing other biometric authentication methods to be integrated in future iPhones.