iPhone 8’s ‘revolutionary’ FaceTime camera to bring facial recognition

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iPhone 8 facial recognition
You'll be able to unlock your iPhone simply by looking at it.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

This year’s iPhone 8 will offer a “revolutionary” FaceTime camera that will be capable of facial recognition and iris scanning, according to one reliable analyst.

Apple is expected to do away with the handset’s physical Home button and Touch ID in favor of a larger display and a mini Touch Bar. Facial recognition could well become the new method of unlocking your iPhone and securing your apps.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has an incredibly reliable track record with Apple rumors, reports that Apple will adopt a new front-facing camera with an infrared sensor for this year’s iPhone upgrade. And it will do more than just unlock your device.

“The analyst says the advanced 3D front camera system could be used in new innovative games that can accurately replace a character’s head with that of the user,” reports 9to5Macwhich got a look at Kuo’s note to investors.

Its ability to measure depth will allow the camera to create 3D selfies, which could then be used for all kinds of new things, including augmented reality. It’s thought the camera’s depth recognition will be even greater than that of the iPhone 7 Plus’s new camera.

The camera is expected to use algorithms developed by PrimeSense, the Israeli company Apple acquired in 2013 that created the technology behind the original Xbox Kinect. It could also use technology developed by RealFace, another Israeli company Apple just acquired.

The infrared module and receiver that will accompany the camera is claimed to use technology created by Lumentum. This module will throw out infrared signals that are reflected back at the receiver, allowing it to measure the distance of objects within its field of view.

Microsoft uses a similar system in its latest Surface computers, allowing users to login to Windows 10 simply by looking at it. Other manufacturers have also adopted the technology. A sensor detects your face quickly, and because it’s infrared, it even works in the dark.

Kuo expects Apple to add 3D sensing cameras to the back of future iPhones in the coming years, potentially allowing for features offered by the iPhone 7 Plus without the need for a second camera module. It’s thought Apple is “years ahead” of Android in 3D-sensing technology.

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  • dalestrauss

    Sure hope they don’t copy the Galaxy Note 7 hand warmer feature while they are copying…

  • Rackmaster

    So, now law enforcement just has to hold your phone up to your face to unlock it – dead or alive. Who needs subpoenas anyway, right?

    • Dan

      Or, the guy who just killed you for your phone so he can then resell it.

      The answer here is two means of proof either your fingerprint and your voice, or your face and your voice. Using a key phrase only you and the phone know.

  • Jack Hickman

    If it takes longer than 2 seconds to recognize and unlock, it won’t be worth it.