This seems like a pretty busy year for Apple. It’s almost like every month there’s a new feature that they’re announcing for either their next iPhone or some innovation that they’re finally getting behind. Whether it be their plans for Augmented Reality, or designing the new Autonomous Car system, Apple really likes to think big. And today is no different, as Apple is now testing 3D Facial Recognition software.
With the release of the iPhone 8 steadily approaching, it makes sense that Apple would try and shove as many features into it as possible. And it looks like Apple is trying to rush a 3D face scanner so they can add it to the new phone. The sensor itself can scan a user’s face and unlock the phone within a few hundred milliseconds, and is designed to work even if the device is laying flat on a surface. The intent is to have this new technology replace the Touch ID fingerprint scanner, however, this does bring into question how secure this kind of technology really is.
While the face unlock feature takes in more data points than the fingerprint scan, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be more secure. Samsung introduced a biometric authentication lock on the Galaxy S8 smartphone with an iris scanner. The user would be able to unlock their phone and make payments by scanning their eyes, however, it was proven that it wasn’t a foolproof system. There were reports that people were able to trick the sensor with a printed photo of a person’s eyes in lieu of a real person. So what’s to say that this facial recognition sensor from Apple will be any better?
Well, Apple’s response to that is that the sensor has 3D depth perception, to hopefully make it more viable. On top of this new unlock feature, Apple is also testing the new iPhone prototypes that include a chip exclusively for processing artificial intelligence tasks, as well as screens that can display at a higher frame rate. The chip is called internally “the Apple Neural Engine”. The chip is supposed to help improve better life by handling tasks like typing suggestions and image recognition.
Mind you, all this new hardware will mean that the iPhone 8 will unfortunately still be a large surface area like the iPhone 7, but it is also said that the iPhone 8 will still be a thinner phone. Also, it isn’t known if the facial recognition sensor will support AR features, or if it will focus more on just security and authentication. For now, we’ll just have to wait and see.
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