Every time Apple releases a new iPhone, we hold our breaths in anticipation of what we are going to get. With the fingerprint sensor on the iPhone 5S, I suppose that facial recognition is the next logical step; and it seems that that is going to be the case – if you make extrapolations from the patent that was recently awarded to Apple.

You can see the awarded patent by the US Patent and Trademark Office here.

Next iPhone Can Unlock & Hide Messages By Looking At Your Face 

In essence, though, the patent is for a “Personal computing device control using face detection and recognition .” The abstract provides a teeny weeny bit more: “Systems and methods are provided for control of a personal computing device based on user face detection and recognition techniques.”

Of course, if you have the time and curiosity to go through the whole patent and its technical details, you can go back to the link I gave above.

What does this mean for iPhone users (both existing and future)?

So the patent covers three systems:

  • Face detection
  • Face recognition
  • Input/Output control.

Facial detection and recognition in themselves are not too exciting – we’ve heard of and seen them before. The more interesting thing is the third system, which opens up a world of potential for iPhones and their users.

Here’s one scenario.

An iMessage comes in. The iPhone determines if there is a “face” looking at it. More than that, it determines if that face has authorization to view iMessages. If so, then the notification/message is shown. If not, then nothing is displayed.

The same pattern of thinking can be applied to incoming phone calls, email notifications, and of course, unlocking the phone, which is the simplest application if you think about it.

Privacy at its height, is what I am thinking.

How do you feel about the iPhone of the future having these capabilities? Are they necessary or are they just overkill?

[Image via geeky-gadgets]