Apple has apparently been working on the íPhone 8’s rumored 3D facial recognition features for the past three years or more, according to new reports. The iPhone maker’s 3D facial recognition patent application was first filed in December 2013.
The 3D facial recognition is highlighted as being more reliable and secure, as it goes beyond optical data to authenticate the user. It will be quicker and is designed to be more secure than the existing Touch ID found in current models of iPhone, iPad and MacBook Pro.
Apple is still not clear if 3D facial recognition will be a replacement to its existing Touch ID or whether it will be in addition to its fingerprint scanning.
The technology is designed to collect data relating to the contour of the user’s eye sockets, chin and nose, along with other facial features. Further texture analysis detects unique lines and spots on the user’s skin. The infrared and 3D light capture gathers image data for local processing.
Samsung, Apple’s rival in the smartphone space, already has a facial recognition feature enabled in Galaxy S8, but it was not very secure. Therefore, Apple was reluctant in adopting a similar technology for its own facial recognition feature. Instead, it was looking out for more secure and advanced capabilities.
Samsung very quickly realized the flaws in its system and announced that it is not meant for high-level security. The facial recognition on Galaxy S8 is limited to unlocking the handset, while biometric assets like onboard iris scanner and fingerprint reader are reserved for accessing sensitive information stored in the phone’s secure folder.
Apple is not sure if 3D sensing will be enabled in iPhone 8 with the release, as the engineers are still trying to overcome some of the challenges with the software designed to be compatible with the advanced handset. If it takes much longer than expected then the feature may be activated at a later date through an OTA firmware update.