Apple’s tenth-anniversary device, iPhone 8’s release is still a month or so away. While the company has been largely silent about the device, it keeps surfacing in leaks and rumors.
New features of the smartphone were leaked last week when developer Steve Stoughton Smith revealed the data he had found in the firmware of the company’s smart speaker – the HomePod. In one of his tweets, he revealed that the upcoming iPhone would have facial recognition via a software called BiometricKit.
While Apple has already announced its ARKit for developers at the World Wide Developers Conference 2017 in May, this is the first mention of the BiometricKit.
It is important to state that Apple hasn’t mentioned the launch of BiometricKit yet. But, the facial recognition feature has been rumored for iPhone 8 for long. The device is expected to have 3D face recognition capabilities which would be run using the device’s front camera.
Simply put, users would be able to unlock their phones by just holding them in front of their face which will trigger the front camera to recognize them and unlock the device.
The technology is expected to replace the Apple TouchID fingerprint sensor which has been there in iPhones since iPhone 5S.
While the feature was until now expected to be used just to lock and unlock the device, the name BiometricKit indicates Apple might have something else under its wings. It seems, just like the ARKit, Apple might provide a BiometricKit to developers for creating more applications for the face recognition sensor inside the device’s front camera — it could be used for more than just unlocking the device.
A BiometricKit might be available once the iPhone 8 is launched alongside iOS11. According to the data research website Dice, the BiometricKit could also be an API switch which could enable the user to access both TouchID and facial recognition together.
There is not much probability of this happening since the iPhone 8 is expected to come with an edge-to-edge display and to accommodate TouchID on either the front or rear device. While accommodating it on the front of device would cause production issues due to the need of large-scale production of specialized OLED displays, accommodating it at the rear of the device would go against the company’s design philosophy — the company has always kept the rear of the device clean and smooth, right from the first iPhone.
Chances are that the upcoming device features facial recognition, but without a TouchID sensor.
According to some reports, TouchID could be moved to the edge of the handset alongside the power button, however, this hasn’t been done before and the possibility of Apple altering the form factor of its device to accommodate a TouchID sensor doesn’t seem very high.
Whether Apple includes the fingerprint recognition, sustains the TouchID, or goes for eye-scanning technology — is not known yet. However, the rumored existence of a BiometricKit hints at the company working to improve the security-related features of the iPhone.