Apple Works on 3-D Face Scanning Technology for the iPhone

Apple works on 3-D Face Scanning Technology for unlocking the iPhone. Apple is looking to do away with the iPhone’s tried-and-true fingerprint reader altogether, in favor of face-unlocking technology. The move would mark a major shift away from Touch ID, a mainstay in Apple phones since the introduction of the 5S, back in late-2013.

Apple is almost certainly looking to do something radical with its 10th-anniversary phone — something considerably larger than the 7’s move from a mechanical to a haptic button. Most recent speculation has the company moving toward a (nearly) all-display design, and moving away from a fingerprint reader goes ways toward heading in that direction. The combination Touch ID/home button has been the source of a lot of speculation leading up to the iPhone 8’s release later this year.

According to Bloomberg postApple is testing an improved security system that allows users to log in, authenticate payments, and launch secure apps by scanning their face, according to people familiar with the product. This is powered by a new 3-D sensor, added the people, who asked not to be identified discussing technology that’s still in development. The company is also testing eye scanning to augment the system, one of the people said.

Testing Information

In testing, the face unlocks feature takes in more data points than a fingerprint scan, making it more secure than the Touch ID system, the person said. Apple’s sensor has 3-D depth perception, which means the system is less likely to be duped by 2-D pictures. Analysts at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and other firms said earlier this year that a 3-D sensor would likely be included in the next iPhone. It’s unclear whether the new 3-D sensor will support AR features, or just focus on face and eye scanning for security and authentication.

The latest rumor notes that the face scanning technology is “still being tested and may not appear on the new device.” While the pieces of the technology have been falling into place for a number of years now, Apple needs to get the feature just right if it’s going to ship it.

Building the technology on 3D scanning would make it harder to spoof than a 2D solution, but even still, a feature tied this closely to payment authentication isn’t something Apple is going to want to rush to market.