More rumours abound about the HomePod’s features. The latest is facial unlocking. The rumour is also that this could be part of the iPhone 7s’ biometric features.

Company’s like Sensory have incorporated facial recognition as part of their software solutions. Some of the challenges in developing this software are:

  • Accuracy (false reject vs false accept)
  • Liveness testing (so a picture can’t be used)
  • Footprint of the solution
  • Speed of unlocking

In practice, facial unlocking can be unnerving. I use it with the Samsung S8 (which can be broken with a photo of the user’s face) and find that it works 60–70% but the rest of the time, it’s frustrating and results in me making weird facial expressions while pressing the retry button. The other times, it unlocks while I’m entering the pass code, resulting in me pressing something unintentionally on an app after the device has been unlocked.

It’s still early for facial recognition and we’ll likely see the issues on the S8 being resolved a few years after Apple starts implementing it.

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