An iOS leak picked up by several outlets on Monday shows the new, yet-to-be-released iPhone as containing a fingerprint recognition feature that will only allow the phone to operate when held by its owner. Developer Hamza Sood discovered the code for that feature in the settings folder of the new iPhone in beta 4.
This is not the first time rumors have surfaced about technology using harder-to-spoof methods than passwords to protect user privacy. Google’s security team talked to IIEE Magazine about the possibility of installing physical passwords detectable by a phone, tablet or PC camera — showing a physical object of the user’s choice, such as a car key or a pebble, would be needed in addition to a typed password to log into an account.
But more sophisticated visual recognition regimes aren’t confined to security measures. The Associated Press reported Monday about a plethora of apps operated with hand gestures. An app store called Airspace (owned by San Francisco-based Leap Motion) has 75 apps that can be controlled vie gestures. The apps, which work with a motion sensor sold by Leap Motion, are entertainment and design-oriented: combat game Speed Velocity and dexterity-tester Froggle; design tools PhotoScape and Fantasia Painter.
If these apps and features proliferate, they could mark the beginning of owner-recognition in technology gadgets and the end of semi-secure passwords. They could also be a gateway feature to ease consumers into wearable tech — good news for the prospective iWatch/Google Glass market.