Unlocking your iPhone or iPad using face recognition could be coming to iOS users according to a recently revealed Apple patent.
Apple’s patent application 'Low Threshold Face Recognition' was filed in 2010. Instead of being based on a face biometric system; it’s based on a weighted difference map, focusing on areas of the face with more information - like eyes and mouth (see the diagram below), in order to recognise your face and open your phone.
Advantage of this type of technology means there's no need for white balance compensation; lower cost; lower power consumption and compatibility across multiple devices, including laptops, smartphones and tablets.
Being able to unlock your phone using a face is hardly new, recently Face Unlock appeared on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.
With this technology an iPhone (or Apple iPad 2) could be unlocked using a face even from sleep mode. Even more interesting is the ability to recognise a specific user and launch with settings pre-assigned to that user, including wallpaper and app configurations. This means one device could be opened by multiple users.
Of course this is a patent at the moment, so there’s no news exactly when/if it will be implemented, but of all the patents we've seen recently, this is one that seems very plausible.