Apple developing 3-D face scanning feature to unlock upcoming iPhone

July 4, 2017 - 

Apple Inc. is developing a new 3-D face scanning feature that will allow users to unlock their iPhone using their face instead of the existing fingerprint recognition login, according to a report by Bloomberg.

The tech giant is testing a new 3-D sensor-powered authentication system that allows users to log in, authenticate payments, and access secure apps by scanning their face, according to sources familiar with the product, who asked not to be identified because the product is still in development.

Additionally, Apple is testing eye scanning to augment the system. The sensor, whose speed and accuracy are crucial aspects of the feature, can scan a user’s face and unlock the device within a few hundred milliseconds.

The sensor is designed to work even if the device is laying on a table, instead of having to hold it close up to the face.

Apple is still testing the feature so it may not be ready in time to be integrated into the new iPhone, however, the company is hoping to replace the Touch ID fingerprint scanner with it.

During testing, the face unlock feature is able to collect more data points than a fingerprint scan, which makes it significantly more secure than the Touch ID system.

The face sensor also has 3-D depth perception, making the system less susceptible to being fooled 2-D pictures.

Several analysts at JPMorgan Chase & Co., KGI Securities and other firms predicted earlier this year that a 3-D sensor would likely be included in the next iPhone, which is expected to be released this fall.

Apple is also testing next-generation iPhone prototypes with an embedded artificial intelligence (AI) chip called the Apple Neural Engine for processing AI tasks and screens that can display content at a higher frame rate.

Additionally, the new iPhone will have slimmer side bezels around the screen and do away with the physical home button in place of a virtual software-based button.

In May, LG Innotek, the components division of LG Group, revealed it will be providing facial recognition camera modules for the iPhone 8.

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.