Apple developing 'stealth' biometric security for iPhone

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Apple has developed a new technique that would hide a biometric reader inside an iPhone or a Mac and let owners lock down their systems with fingerprints or even facial recognition -- all without ever having to break from their usual routine.



Published for the first time this week, a patent filing for the process reveals that Apple wants to provide a more secure method for preventing unauthorized access to a whole device -- or private information on that device -- than current techniques like passcodes; however, it also wants to avoid taking up the owner's time with a separate scan or consuming extra space with a distinct reader.



The solution, the company suggests, would be to automatically use a 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, for example.











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.







How likely it is any of the new inventions will appear isn't known. Even so, it's clear the processes were developed with the iPhone as a reference. Drawings included with the patent mostly show mockups of the handset's interface as it was when the patent was submitted in September of last year.



Also, heading up the list of inventors is "iPod father" Tony Fadell, who helped develop the original iPhone and left the company just two months after the application first reached the US Patent and Trademark Office, to be replaced by former IBM executive Mark Papermaster.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 51
    ivan.rnn01ivan.rnn01 Posts: 1,822member
    Touch screens used by Apple are of extremely high precision. It's feasible.
  • Reply 2 of 51
    breezebreeze Posts: 96member
    Why would anyone else think of this? All the rest of the industry has to do is let Apple think develop and implement these cool developments and then - just copy....



    Is there any doubt about who has all the cool?
  • Reply 3 of 51
    dstranathandstranathan Posts: 1,712member
    Anyone know the app called "Terminal"? Perhaps Apple is working on their own version for the iPhone. Sweet.
  • Reply 4 of 51
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    I prefer retina recognition a la Blade Runner myself, but this is a first step.
  • Reply 5 of 51
    Apps named

    Terminal

    Block

    Vrecord

    .

    .

    .



    Sounds Apple has lot more in their future versions coded already!!
  • Reply 6 of 51
    gee4orcegee4orce Posts: 165member
    Hiding a fingerprint scanner under the 'slide to unlock' slider is genius.
  • Reply 7 of 51
    And, in other news, Microsoft......



    Ugh.
  • Reply 8 of 51
    paradymparadym Posts: 13member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by striker_kk View Post


    Apps named

    Terminal

    Block

    Vrecord

    .

    .

    .



    Sounds Apple has lot more in their future versions coded already!!





    I noticed those too! VRecord is already coming, it seems, in 3.0. No idea what Block might be, but Terminal would be a fantastic add! The default home page on the iPhone is going to be filled up. I hope that Apple then allows users to remove default apps. (I know you can move them to a different screen, but that's only a workaround.)
  • Reply 9 of 51
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    And, in other news, Microsoft......



    Ugh.



    Constantly bashing Miscrosoft is obviously your modus operandi but adds absolutely nothing to the discussion. You really need to get over it.
  • Reply 10 of 51
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by teckstud View Post


    Constantly bashing Miscrosoft is obviously your modus operandi but adds absolutely nothing to the discussion. You really need to get over it.



    And, in other news: For a change, teckstud takes time off to bash a poster rather than the iPhone!



    Ugh....
  • Reply 11 of 51
    voice dial

    movies
  • Reply 12 of 51
    sorry guys, hate to disapoint you, but "blocks, terminal, vrecord and games" are from jailbroken iphone.



    apple used, for some crazy reason, an iPhone that is jailbroken to make the drawings.

    just check out image 4 and 5 from the patent



    http://appft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-...le&RS=AN/Apple



    installer, a well known theme for summerboard, and even sbsettings

    http://aiw2.uspto.gov:80/.DImg?Docid...&ImgFormat=tif



    kinda funny.



    apple saying, jailbreaking is bad and all stuff, and they still use it.



    kind of emberassing to let that to the public without checking the drawings first
  • Reply 13 of 51
    mr.scottmr.scott Posts: 122member
    Just like Apple to come up with a whole lot of coolness! Amazing technology they have!
  • Reply 14 of 51
    i want an iphone that verifies my identity via a piss test... and also tells me if i'm good to drive.
  • Reply 15 of 51
    I love the part about "ear recognition"!
  • Reply 16 of 51
    dagamer34dagamer34 Posts: 494member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dstranathan View Post


    Anyone know the app called "Terminal"? Perhaps Apple is working on their own version for the iPhone. Sweet.



    Terminal was in the alpha builds of the iPhone OS 1.0. It's just not enable for consumers to use.
  • Reply 17 of 51
    ulfoafulfoaf Posts: 175member
    Nice sci-fi story. Betcha we don't see this anytime soon.
  • Reply 18 of 51
    ulfoafulfoaf Posts: 175member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by realmike15 View Post


    i want an iphone that verifies my identity via a piss test... and also tells me if i'm good to drive.



    Good one! Blood pressure, my &$$! Plugin device!
  • Reply 19 of 51
    magic_almagic_al Posts: 325member
    If they put a DNA test in a iPhone it verges on being a Star Trek tricorder. I guess Apple can patent speculation?
  • Reply 20 of 51
    They should tie this into DRM. Tie purchases to a biometric signature and whammo, your software and media are safely yours and yours alone. No matter which machine you went to (iPhone, Macbook, AppleTV), all you would have to do is authenticate your DNA (maybe a blood sample, maybe an oral swab) and you can watch your movies, listen to your music, and run your apps. ;-)
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