The US Patent and Trademark Office has just published a patent application today from Apple that reveals the company's plans for implementing face recognition and presence detection technology. Apple intends to implement the technology in iOS devices, including the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, as well as in its MacBook laptop computers.
The presence detection technology can be used to automatically turn on a device when it senses a user's presence. The face recognition technology then can be used to unlock a device in lieu of entering a password. Devices can also be configured to recognize faces from a group of users such as among family or at the workplace.
Apple's solution for facial recognition relies on a simple weighted difference map, rather than the traditional and more computationally heavy correlation matching technology. In this way, it uses less system resources and could reduce the impact of lighting and skin variation. It can also tap directly into the GPU of an iOS device or MacBook, reducing the load on software and relying more on the hardware.