iPhone 5 may feature Face Unlock, patent angers Android base

By Alan Ng - Dec 30, 2011

One of the main features of Google’s new Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich mobile operating system is the ability to unlock smartphones by using facial recognition only. New reports have emerged this week, suggesting that Apple may also be joining the Face Unlock party in 2012.

Owners of the new Galaxy Nexus smartphone should already be getting to grips with the slick new Face Unlock feature, and you would initially be right in thinking this was a feature that was part-exclusive to Android since the iPhone does not have this ability yet.

This could all change next year though, as a report published by Patently Apple reveals that Apple has filed a patent this week that will allow iOS users to unlock a device just by looking at it. Specific details in Apple’s patent also include the technology being able to identify a user’s nose and mouth features, as well the distance between a user’s nose and mouth giving it a greater sense of security when unlocking a device. This could be crucial to separating the two face unlock features on Android and iOS, as Galaxy Nexus owners will probably be already aware that Face Unlock can by exploited simply by issuing a photo of the user’s phone to unlock it.

The patent has been filed officially, but it remains to be seen how far Apple are with their task of implementing the technology into their iOS software, and in turn – future devices such as the iPhone 5. There are strong rumors that Apple will release a sixth-generation iPhone during Fall of 2012, one which would bring a complete design overhaul over the iPhone 4. If everything falls into place, the company may have just under a year to get this intriguing new face unlock tech into their next iPhone.

Android owners will argue that Apple are essentially ‘copying’ Google’s idea, but we’re surprised that Apple didn’t have this feature a long time ago. Google has become the first to bring the technology to the mainstream, but just like Siri, Apple may be the company to take this feature to the next level. As an Android and iOS user, what are your thoughts on this potential move by Apple?

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  • Lellimecnar

    To the author:
    Companies and Corporations are collective nouns, and are therefore singular, not plural. “Apple are…” is terrible grammar, and to be honest, I missed a lot of your point because I was distracted by it. Please revise your post and inform your editor.
    Thank you.

    • Nissan75us

      People that can’t find themselves past a simple grammar error need to get a life. Don’t be such a clown!!!

      • Anonymous

        LOL agreed Nissan.  Especially when you consider the Global nature of the Web.

        Regardless.  Let Lellimecnar dwell on his hangup.  His words say all you need to know about him.