iPhone 8 will probably include face recognition unlock tool

31 Jul 2017

iPhone. Image: Hadrian/Shutterstock

Judging by the early Apple HomePod reveal, it seems that the next iPhone will include some surprise features.

Apple’s HomePod firmware release hardly set the tech world abuzz, but what it contained certainly has.

Deep within the reveal were details that seem likely to describe this year’s iPhone 8, with one or two key features sure to entertain Apple fanboys.

Of particular note is the potential for an infrared face unlock tool in BiometricKit, which will essentially work as facial authentication on the same framework as Touch ID.

Named Pearl ID, the suggestion is that the facial recognition will act as an unlock feature even in the dark, and it won’t even need users’ full face in view of the screen.

Developer Steve Troughton-Smith discovered the code, with elements of the iPhone design also included, it seems.

However, this is hardly the first ‘leak’ regarding the iPhone’s next instalment, with facial recognition rumoured for some time now.

This biometric technology already exists in devices such as the latest Microsoft Surface Pro.

Apple certainly wants to avoid the same bad press that Samsung endured with its rival Galaxy S8, where it has been claimed that facial recognition scanning can be defeated with a single picture.

Perhaps the hint is in the 3D nature of the previously proposed Apple technology – one of the recent reports mentioned 3D depth perception, which means it cannot be duped by 2D pictures.

According to Bloomberg, Apple is also testing iris scanning to augment the system. Speed and accuracy are understood to be the focal points of Apple’s new technology and it is claimed that the chip can scan a user’s face and unlock an iPhone within a few hundred milliseconds.

With well in excess of 140bn app downloads onto iPhones since the Apple smartphone’s 2008 release, we’ve seen a dramatic shift in how technology is used to share content.

Around $70bn has been paid to iOS app developers in that time, with more than 1bn devices sold throughout the world, earning the company eye-watering sums of money.

This has helped Apple to become the most valuable company in the world, capitalising on superior design and, through the App Store and iTunes, revenue streams other manufacturers could only dream of.

The next iPhone will, presumably, continue this theme.

iPhone. Image: Hadrian/Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic