Apple Said to Test 3-D Face Scanning to Unlock Next iPhone
Apple is working on a feature that will let you unlock your iPhone using your face instead of a fingerprint, according to Bloomberg.
For its redesigned iPhone, set to go on sale later this year, Apple is testing an improved security system that allows users to log in, authenticate payments, and launch secure apps by scanning their face, according to people familiar with the product. This is powered by a new 3-D sensor, added the people. The company is also testing eye scanning to augment the system.
The sensor’s speed and accuracy are focal points of the feature. It can scan a user’s face and unlock the iPhone within a few hundred milliseconds, the person said. It is designed to work even if the device is laying flat on a table, rather than just close up to the face. The feature is still being tested and may not appear with the new device. However, the intent is for it to replace the Touch ID fingerprint scanner. In testing, the face unlock feature takes in more data points than a fingerprint scan, making it more secure than the Touch ID system.
Apple is not the first to use different forms of biometric authentication. In its latest phones, Samsung included iris scanners that let users unlock their phones and make payments by scanning their eyes. Samsung’s feature on its Galaxy S8 smartphone launched to poor reviews as users were able to trick the sensor with printed photo copies of a person’s eyes. Apple’s sensor has 3-D depth perception, which means the system is less likely to be duped by 2-D pictures.
In addition to the face unlock feature, Apple is testing next-generation iPhone prototypes that include a dedicated chip for processing artificial intelligence tasks and screens that can display content at a higher frame rate. The AI chip is internally called the Apple Neural Engine and would improve battery life by handling tasks like image recognition and typing suggestions, Bloomberg News reported in May. The faster screens in testing are the same as the ProMotion displays in Apple’s latest iPad tablets, one of the people said.