The company’s goal to do away with Touch ID, its fingerprint identity sensor that has been used to unlock iPhones models launched since 2013, is expected to occur in time for the launch of the iPhone 8, due to be released later this year. People familiar with the product’s development claim that the new facial-recognition technology will feature a 3-D sensor capable of scanning faces and unlocking iPhones within a few hundred milliseconds.
The sensor will also be used to authenticate payments and launch secure apps and has reportedly been designed so that users don’t have to hold the device close to their face — laying the phone flat on a table is sufficient enough to gain access. Bloomberg’s sources add that Apple’s facial-recognition technology, which is still in development and may not be ready in time to feature on the new iPhone, is more secure than Touch ID as it takes in more data points.
Apple is also said to be in process of testing eye-scanning technology to supplement its new system. By using 3-D sensors, it hopes to avoid running into the same issues that dogged Samsung (SSNLF). The South Korean company’s Galaxy G8 smartphone featured iris scanners that could be breached by placing a printed photo copy of the user’s eyes in front of it.
Aside from introducing a face-unlocking feature, Apple’s new iPhone is set to include an artificial intelligence chip. Called the Apple Neural Engine, the chip’s ability to handle tasks, such as image recognition and typing suggestions, is expected to improve battery life. The iPhone 8 will also feature screens capable of displaying content at a higher frame rate.
The addition of these complex features has led to concerns that the iPhone 8’s launch date might be delayed and hindered by costly production issues. Some analysts are also concerned that the expected retail price of $1,000 may put consumers off buying it.