A new patent application filed by Apple at US Patent Office reveals that they might be developing a more secure and sophisticated method to prevent unauthorized access to the iPhone instead of the current method of using passcodes.
Apple's patent suggests that they have developed a technique that will allow users to lock their iPhones using fingerprints or facial recognition with the help of an embedded biometric reader inside the iPhone.
AppleInsider who stumbled upon the patent application provides more details about the patent application:
sensor either hidden within the device or else repurposed from its
usual role. Devices could recognize a fingerprint or finger vein
pattern simply by waiting for the user to touch the display, which
would hide the sensors on or behind the screen. A forward-facing camera
could alternately look for retinal patterns or even recognize the
facial features of owners when they're in the right position for use.
Notebooks could use the trackpad, palmrest and a webcam for a similar purpose.
Apple goes so far as to suggest the possibility of recognizing the
user's distinctive voice or even collecting DNA samples to recognize a
user's genetic sequence. Biometrics could also be context-sensitive and
detect the shape of a user's ear before allowing a call to go through,
As an alternative to biometrics, Apple further proposes using other,
non-alphanumeric but also less obvious locks: in hardware, owners could
get access by providing their voice to a microphone or tilting a device
in certain directions.
On touch devices, users could place their fingers in a particular
pattern on screen, make gestures or tap out a sequence. A more direct
alternative to passcodes could also exist by making users match up
shapes and colors through on-screen icons."
Here are some images from the patent application:
It is important to note here that Apple like so many other companies,
patents ideas and so these features might never see the light of day.
The patent also reveals something interesting. If you take a closer look at the images filed in the patent application, you will notice that it has jailbreak apps such as Terminal (in the first image), Installer app and SMBPrefs, and the iWood Realize theme from the iSpazio repository (in the last image) revealing that a jailbroken iPhone was used in the patent application.
Folks at Gizmodo point out referring to the last image that:
The patent explains that it covers all uses of the iPhone, including a
customized background and other bonuses available to the Jailbreak
It is interesting to see Apple not only using a jailbroken iPhone but also considering jailbreaking in one of their patents. Apple had recently told the U.S. Copyright Office that it believes
jailbreaking an iPhone
is a violation of the DMCA and infringes on its
copyright. Apple also informed the Copyright Office that the exception
request by Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) was not acceptable as
the very act of jailbreaking the iPhone results in copyright
What do you think? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.