Apple reportedly snaps up Israeli facial-recognition company

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iPhone 8 facial recognition
How facial recognition could work on a future iPhone.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple has reportedly acquired RealFace, an Israeli startup that developed facial-recognition technology for user authentication.

The news comes shortly after a separate report claiming that Apple is planning to incorporate new biometric security systems into future iPhones starting in 2018.

RealFace employs up to 10 people, and previously secured funding of around $1 million. It was set up in 2014 by Adi Eckhouse Barzilai and Aviv Mader, with the goal of making passwords redundant on mobile devices and computers by using facial recognition instead.

The startup previously created the app Pickeez, which uses facial recognition for identifying the best photos of a user.

While Apple has yet to officially confirm the deal, which is said to have been for “a couple of million” dollars, this wouldn’t be the first time Apple has shown interest in facial recognition. Apple already uses facial-recognition tech as part of its Photos app, and has filed patents that reveal how future iPhone and iPad users could unlock their devices by simply taking a selfie, rather than using Touch ID or a passcode.

Apple has previously acquired three other Israeli tech companies. In 2011, it bought flash memory maker Anobit. Apple acquired 3-D sensor company PrimeSense in 2013, and bought LinX in 2015. The company’s biggest R&D center outside the United States is located in Herzliya, Israel, a location that makes it easier for Apple to tap into the country’s thriving tech scene.

Source: The Times of Israel