Facial recognition is next for Apple
Global - In what might be one of the most notable additions to its mobile operating system, Apple is widely rumoured to have incorporated facial recognition technology in its upcoming iOS 5.
Reuters quoted a 9to5Mac report stating the recognition software capabilities was acquired through Apple's purchase of Polar Rose in 2010, a company that specialises in face detection algorithms.
The report further said Apple is not specifically planning to launch an iOS 5 application that relies on their face detection technology, but plans to do something much more important - open up facial recognition as a public developer API for iOS 5 applications.
"The implications of this are obviously vast. Most importantly, its an easy way for developers to integrate the sought after technology, with vast amounts of uses, into their App Store applications," the 9to5Mac report said.
Facial recognition is the next big thing in the technology space, but firms need to be cautious in rolling it out, if the recent Facebook blooper is any indication.
Facebook earned wrath for having rolled-out the technology without any prior announcement, early this year.
It first announced the face recognition feature in December when it became available to US users. However, the company did not indicate that it would be extended to accounts outside the US until security firm Sophos broke the news that Facebook was now storing facial recognition data on global users.
The company in an official statement then said: "We should have been more clear with people during the roll-out process when this became available to them."
According to Reuters, Apple could also use the technology to implement user account switching. Currently, iOS devices don't have user accounts the way a Mac does. On the iPad especially, which is a shared device for many, it makes sense to offer multiple accounts that offer different levels of access to different sets of content.
"Facial recognition could intelligently and automatically switch iOS user profiles, setting restrictions if a child picks up a device, and changing the app load-out and home screen arrangement for different family members," it said.
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