This Apple patent could describe facial recognition for the next iPhone


One of the greatest problems with tech is that there is little room for nostalgia. Aside from Nintendo and potentially Fujifilm, few companies are willing to stick with what’s comfortable. And with good reason!

Take Apple, for instance. I may still be butthurt over the fact that my iPhone doesn’t have a proper headphone jack, dismayed each time I lose my dongle, but it’s hard to ignore that some new features, like Touch ID, haven’t drastically improved both the security and the user experience of the iPhone.

But out with the old and in with the new, right? And it seems that Touch ID might be the next old, new feature to get the axe.

Earlier this week, Bloomberg reported on rumors that Apple is testing facial recognition via a more powerful 3D camera on the iPhone, which would do away with Touch ID.

A few days ago, KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said the next iPhone will have an all-display design and use facial recognition, as well.

Before these latest rumors, some have speculated that the Touch ID sensor will lay under the screen.

However, given the latest report out of Bloomberg/KGI, a new Apple patent has caught our attention.

The patent describes a method in which a computing device could spot a user through the camera while in sleep mode, using very minimal power, and wake automatically based on the movement of that user toward the computing device.

The system would use three parameters (skin tone detection, face detection, and movement detection) to determine whether you’d like to actually use your device and that you are, indeed, you. When all parameters are met, the device would wake to welcome you.

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The images in this patent show a desktop computing device using the presence recognition system, which would likely be far easier than an iPhone or iPad, as mobile computing devices are often in motion themselves. Still, the patent doesn’t actually rule out that this facial/presence recognition system might be used in mobile computing devices.

Of course, as with any Apple patent, it’s unclear if the technology described in the patent will make its way to our consumer products anytime soon. However, the latest iPhone rumors about facial recognition certainly make this patent one to watch out for.

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