iPhone 8 may pack frickin’ lasers for facial recognition


Lasers could be the iPhone's next big feature.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple’s next iPhone may come with new facial recognition technology and actual friggin’ laser beams, according to an analyst.

By adding lasers near the front-facing camera, Apple will be able to depth-map objects, according to analysts at Cowen and Company. The camera could also be used for image recognition, enhancing security and fueling augmented reality.

“Other features appear to include some form of facial/gesture recognition supported by a new laser sensor and an infrared sensor mounted near the front-facing camera,” wrote Cowen and Company analyst Timoth Arcuri in a note to investors.

Friggin’ laser mapping

Rumors of facial recognition have been bubbling up in the Apple rumor mill for quite a while, but until now no one has predicted Apple will use lasers to pull it off. Arcuri cites “field work” within Apple’s supply chain as the source of his findings, so take this rumor with a healthy dose of skepticism for now.

Adding laser sensors to the iPhone 8 could make a lot of sense, though. Some have questioned whether Apple’s days of innovating are over, but bringing a new feature no one expected would definitely help bust the iPhone out of its sales slump.

In 2013, Apple bought Primesense, which makes infrared sensors. Adding the laser sensors to the front or back of the iPhone would also allow Apple to add augmented reality technology to the device.

In his note, Arcuri repeats the rumor that Apple will launch three different sizes of iPhone this year: a 5.8-inch model, a 4.7-inch model and a 5.5-inch model. Cowen and Company claims only the largest iPhone will have an OLED wraparound screen with Touch ID integrated into the display.


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