Apple's 'iPhone 8' facial recognition tech might support Apple Pay, third-party apps, 'mul...

Posted:
in iPhone edited August 2017
Code uncovered in recently leaked HomePod firmware suggests the facial recognition system rumored to debut in Apple's "iPhone 8" will support payments, combined biometric security and include hooks for third-party apps.


Source: Gordon Kelly via Forbes


In a tweet on Wednesday, developer Guilherme Rambo posted screenshots of previously unreported functionality related to "Pearl ID," thought to be Apple's codename for "iPhone 8's" facial recognition system. Specifically, lines of code seemingly reference system support for payments, a "multi biometric" solution and what appears to be integrations for third-party apps.

As noted by Rambo, Apple's leaked software includes contingencies for "GENERIC_ERROR_PEARL_AUTHENTICATION_ERROR" and "PAYMENT_ERROR_PEARL_AUTHENTICATION_ERROR," both triggers for iOS system-level functions. The code appears to point to "Pearl" integration with payments technology, likely Apple's own Apple Pay. Previous discoveries suggested "Pearl" would merely aid in payments, not authenticate users on its own.

Rambo also discovered the code point "numberOfAppsUsingPearl:" which suggests more than one app will be able to tap into facial recognition features. While the code fails to distinguish between first- and third-party software, Apple currently allows third-party apps to authenticate users via its Touch ID. A next-generation iPhone would likely include similar functionality for its own biometric security hardware.

The "numberOfAppsUsingPearl:" line appears to connect with Apple's current method of handling user privacy, as current builds of iOS let users monitor and control all apps that access Touch ID.

Related to system security, Rambo uncovered a line of code reading "canPerformMultiBiometrics." Unfortunately, the term "MultiBiometrics" is difficult to parse and the leaked HomePod firmware fails to elaborate on its origin.

Some have taken the code point to mean "iPhone 8" facial recognition will support multiple users, but considering Apple's approach to security and its view of iPhone as the ultimate personal device, multi-user integration seems highly unlikely. Aside from iPads in mass deployment scenarios, like educational institutions, iOS does not contain allowances for more than one user.

The "MultiBiometrics" line could reference a two-step biometric authentication solution as predicted by KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In in January, Kuo said Apple could buffer potential shortcomings of "FaceDetect" hardware by requiring users to also authenticate with proven Touch ID fingerprint sensing. The hybrid two-step bio-recognition system would therefore require users to verify their identity with both a fingerprint and facial scan.

Rambo discovered lines of code that suggest both front and rear "iPhone 8" cameras will support facial recognition. In particular, "CAMCaptureCapabilities" code points reference "FrontPearl" and "BackPearl" support. The function might be related to code discovered this week that hinted iPhone's facial recognition assets will work even when the device is laying on a table or desk.

Other tidbits include mention of "1080p240fps" video recording and enhanced HDR camera capture.

The HomePod firmware leaked inadvertently by Apple continues to offer the best look yet at the company's unannounced handset. Previous discoveries point to a new camera feature dubbed "SmartCam," front and rear camera support for 4K video at 60fps, split status bar user interface and bezel-less design with sensor notch.

Most recently, code strings unearthed earlier today suggest "iPhone 8" will silence notifications when it determines a user is already looking at its screen.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 7
    TouchID currently allows you use up to 10 fingerprints, and as the person in our house that manages all the iPhones, macs, etc I have access to my wife's and kids' iPhones with my thumbprint. I'd be a little surprised if Apple moved away from this and didn't allow for multiple facial imprints.  
  • Reply 2 of 7
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    Mmmm. 

    A couple of months ago, someone here (and I apologise for not remembering your name) said: 

    Your face is your user name
    Your finger is your password

    I think about this and I wonder if we're missing something… 



    watto_cobramike1netmage
  • Reply 3 of 7
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,030member
    Rayz2016 said:
    Mmmm. 

    A couple of months ago, someone here (and I apologise for not remembering your name) said: 

    Your face is your user name
    Your finger is your password

    I think about this and I wonder if we're missing something… 
    It's a nice slogan, but why wouldn't your Touch ID be both your username and password? That's how it works now—so what's wrong with Touch ID authenticatng and acting a user based on that? With a desktop OS we need a username and password because the system wouldn't know which account to access if we just used a password and two or more people used the password password.

    I would like Facial ID, but for more convenience over security. Like when you sit down in a car instead of hitting one of the programmed numbers to adjust the seat and steering wheel it adjusts it automatically by your face. Or when you do pick up the Apple Remote to have the Apple TV UI alter to fit the viewer's needs. But all this can be done with Touch ID on a Mac, in a car, and even on the Apple Remote, but I'd think that Facial ID might be easier on the remote if the image is sent to the main device for processing, whereas Touch ID may need expensive HW built into it.

    PS: Off topic, but one point of contention I do have with macOS is when I have File Vault enabled there's no option for initial boot screen to let me input both the username and password to sign in.
  • Reply 4 of 7
    TouchID currently allows you use up to 10 fingerprints, and as the person in our house that manages all the iPhones, macs, etc I have access to my wife's and kids' iPhones with my thumbprint. I'd be a little surprised if Apple moved away from this and didn't allow for multiple facial imprints.  
    Is it specific to the iPhone 7 and latest iPads?
    My iPhone 6S and iPad mini 4 let me store five fingerprints. :(
  • Reply 5 of 7
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,105member
    Some have taken the code point to mean "iPhone 8" facial recognition will support multiple users, but considering Apple's approach to security and its view of iPhone as the ultimate personal device, multi-user integration seems highly unlikely. Aside from iPads in mass deployment scenarios, like educational institutions, iOS does not contain allowances for more than one user. 

    Be pretty desirable on a future iPad though.
  • Reply 6 of 7
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    Soli said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    Mmmm. 

    A couple of months ago, someone here (and I apologise for not remembering your name) said: 

    Your face is your user name
    Your finger is your password

    I think about this and I wonder if we're missing something… 
    It's a nice slogan, but why wouldn't your Touch ID be both your username and password? That's how it works now—so what's wrong with Touch ID authenticatng and acting a user based on that? With a desktop OS we need a username and password because the system wouldn't know which account to access if we just used a password and two or more people used the password password.

    I would like Facial ID, but for more convenience over security. Like when you sit down in a car instead of hitting one of the programmed numbers to adjust the seat and steering wheel it adjusts it automatically by your face. Or when you do pick up the Apple Remote to have the Apple TV UI alter to fit the viewer's needs. But all this can be done with Touch ID on a Mac, in a car, and even on the Apple Remote, but I'd think that Facial ID might be easier on the remote if the image is sent to the main device for processing, whereas Touch ID may need expensive HW built into it.

    PS: Off topic, but one point of contention I do have with macOS is when I have File Vault enabled there's no option for initial boot screen to let me input both the username and password to sign in.
    All very good points, and my only reply is … that's not how I'd do it :-/

    The problem I have is that without first identifying that the user is on the system then you have to expose everyone's biometric so the system would work. I would much rather the system keep the biometric locked behind the user profile until you know that user is on the system. Also, without some way of identifying the user before asking for the 'password', I wonder if this would make it more difficult to integrate seamlessly with other systems in the future. 
  • Reply 7 of 7
    netmagenetmage Posts: 314member
    Apple has already solved the problem of "exposing" everyone's biometrics - they don't store fingerprints and they isolate verification to a separate secure chip. 
    Soli
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