There was plenty to be excited about in Apple’s announcement of the iPhone X – mostly in the positive sense, other than the price tag – but one aspect that has caught quite a lot of attention is the smartphone’s Face ID facial recognition system, which replaces Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint scanning system on the iPhone X. While mobile facial recognition technology has been gaining in popularity for a while, Apple’s new system is undeniably a particularly sophisticated one, and its emergence may signal a new surge in mobile face scanning technology, particularly of the infrared variety. Here’s why:
Apple Isn’t the Only Big Tech Company Pioneering Infrared Facial Recognition
Microsoft has been on this beat since it launched its Windows 10 operating system in 2015. The OS’s Windows Hello security platform features support for biometric authentication including fingerprint and infrared facial recognition – but it’s just software, so whether or not this kind of security catches on depends on hardware makers. More devices have been emerging lately that can support Windows Hello’s infrared facial recognition, and if Apple succeeds in popularizing it on mobile devices, that could help to accelerate its arrival on Windows devices, too.
And Other Mobile Companies Are Following Suit
LG just launched its flagship V30 smartphone, which supports facial recognition in conjunction with fingerprint and voice recognition. It’s a clear sign that other smartphone makers anticipated Apple’s pivot to face scanning for authentication. Samsung also included support for facial recognition in its Samsung Galaxy S8 devices, though its focus was on pioneering iris recognition and the facial recognition technology’s performance paled in comparison to iris-based authentication. But with Apple now poised to take the throne in mobile facial recognition, Samsung will be keen to stay competitive and may come up with its own infrared system on the Galaxy S9.
There’s More to Come
As it gains popularity, facial recognition could find its way into other devices besides smartphones and computers. Facebook, for example, is thought to be working on an Amazon Echo rival that will feature facial recognition, and with the revelation of the iPhone X, there’s mounting incentive to make sure it’s infrared. As it did with fingerprint scanning on the smartphone, Apple is blazing a trail, and a lot of companies are going to want to pursue the treasure it might lead to.
September 14, 2017 – by Alex Perala