Apple is reportedly looking to integrate 3D facial recognition into its new iPhone 8, allowing users to unlock their devices with their faces.
For the new iPhone model, set to go on sale later this year, Apple is said to be designing an improved security feature enabled by 3D sensors and iris scanners, letting users log into their phones, authenticate payments and launch secure apps.
According to early trials, the facial scanner is able to accurately detect faces and unlock the device within just a few hundred milliseconds.
It is also designed to work even if the device is lying flat on a surface, rather than just close up to the face.
The new tool is a significant move for the iPhone, as it could take the place of the popular Touch ID security system, which was first introduced on the iPhone 5s in 2013.
As the facial unlock feature reads a greater amount of data points than the fingerprint scanner, it is thought to be more secure than Touch ID.
Alongside the facial scanner, the new iPhone model is slated to include narrower bezels, an OLED premium version, and wireless charging.
Facial and iris biometric authentication in smartphones have recently received negative reviews for their security vulnerabilities. Samsung introduced iris scanners with its Galaxy S8, but hackers were able to easily trick the device using printed photos of the user’s eyes.
However, Apple’s sensor is expected to include 3D depth perception, meaning that the system will be less likely to be caught out by 2D images.
Apple is also reportedly working on new augmented reality capabilities, but it is unclear where these AR features will sit in the new model. For the time being Apple’s public AR research focuses on its ARKit platform for developers building AR apps.