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Patently ridiculous: Apple applies for iOS face unlock patent

0. phoneArena posted on 29 Dec 2011, 12:54

This isn't the first time we've seen it from any tech company, let alone Apple, and it probably won't be the last, but Apple has put in an application to patent a technology which some of us are already using: face unlock...

This is a discussion for a news. To read the whole news, click here

posted on 29 Dec 2011, 15:55 3

38. gallitoking (Posts: 4721; Member since: 17 May 2011)

thank you for your opinion.. sir... keyword... OPINION

posted on 29 Dec 2011, 20:34 3

56. Mario1017 (Posts: 336; Member since: 04 Sep 2011)

yes. its his opinion. he never imposed his opinion to you. you like apple, good for you. most people here dont. and its keyword* their OPINION

posted on 29 Dec 2011, 15:15 4

32. GeekMovement (unregistered)

Good this confirms my hate toward apple even more.

posted on 29 Dec 2011, 15:34 3

35. taz89 (Posts: 2014; Member since: 03 May 2011)

lol guess we know whats iphone 5 selling point is going to be...and apple will claim that the 4s isnt capable of face unlock.

posted on 29 Dec 2011, 15:43 6

36. tacohunter (Posts: 408; Member since: 06 Nov 2011)

Much like the somewhat controversial face unlock feature built-in to Google’s Galaxy Nexus smartphone, a new patent application reveals Apple too is working on similar, but more advanced user detection solutions. As PatentlyApple pointed out, Apple noted these recognition systems could land in a future iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or MacBook.

The basics of the patent entitled “Low Threshold Face Recognition,” is to allow a user to unlock a device—such an iPhone or iPad—using facial recognition. Apple’s solution could allow the device’s camera to recognize the user even when the device is in sleep mode. In other words, the device’s camera would remain active when sleeping, detect the user, and unlock the device without having to press the sleep/wake button. This could, in theory, allow a user to bypass the current Slide to Unlock feature.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the system would be the ability for the device’s settings to be customized depending on the user. For example, when detecting a specific user, iOS could set personalized wallpapers, notification settings, and custom configurations for apps. This would provide multiple user logins, allowing iOS users to easily share a device among family or coworkers.

For those who didn't read the source or this is just the patent in short extra info. It's stil a lot different from google's. P.S. a month ago or so they had a 3d face recognition patent.

posted on 29 Dec 2011, 16:03 1

41. tacohunter (Posts: 408; Member since: 06 Nov 2011)

P.S.S. maybe Michael needs to update this article.

posted on 29 Dec 2011, 17:04 2

44. protozeloz (Posts: 5396; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)

Nice read. Thanks but you must also remember what Michael posted that the camera app can already distinguish certain parts on a user. The SDK also provides more power to the face recognition. Why the app is limited. We have no clue yet but it was deemed as beta. Only thing I never like is that again will limit the amount of uses someone can find if used on the war

posted on 29 Dec 2011, 15:53 3

37. ReturningToNokia (Posts: 130; Member since: 09 Jul 2011)

For all of the Android fans who think that face recognition/facial unlock is new and that it was invented by Google, please understand...there is a face unlock app in the Nokia Store and has been for quite some time. No, it is not implemented into the Symbian OS, but this type of technology is not new.

In addition, Apple's implementation (if you read the source) goes beyond what is on the G Nexus; the G Nexus implementation is no different than the app in the Nokia Store, which is very basic (http://store.ovi.com/content/205739?clickSource=search&pos=1)

posted on 29 Dec 2011, 17:12 2

45. protozeloz (Posts: 5396; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)

Again there has also being an app on the market I don't think people are claiming this is Googles invention but rather not wanting this as an ammo against android. Now the face unlock might be basic but the SDK has lots of new cam features that devs could approach a faction was used for face unlock the other for the new camera app. Why? Don't know but the nexus can read lips and facial expressions its just being told not to do so.

posted on 29 Dec 2011, 16:18 3

42. thephoneguy92 (Posts: 191; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)

I think patents are getting completely out of hand. In the world that we live in now, there are always so many ideas rolling around about how to improve a product or another idea. These patents make it impossible for a company with a good idea to do anything with it when companies (Apple) make it impossible for anyone but themselves to touch it. The consumers are the ones who get the short end of the stick here, and as usual, the corporations get the money. Just my 2 cents.

posted on 29 Dec 2011, 18:17 2

48. jmoita2 (Posts: 930; Member since: 23 Dec 2011)

Desperation at its best!!!

posted on 29 Dec 2011, 18:27 2

49. GalaxyOptimus (Posts: 23; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)

depression tactic again
wake up Apple, I'm about to lose all of my respect to you

posted on 29 Dec 2011, 19:10 2

50. stealthd (unregistered)

The patent was just PUBLISHED. Apple applied for it 18 months ago, before anyone outside of Google knew about it. So no, ICS's face unlock is not prior art, and no, there is nothing ridiculous about this patent unless you just casually ignore the facts like this article does.

posted on 29 Dec 2011, 22:29 1

69. rockstarlive (Posts: 307; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)

Yeah. But then this site is not the greatest source of news either.

posted on 29 Dec 2011, 19:38 1

52. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 3117; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)

It doesnt matter who started it, we all know Apple didnt invent it nor do they have the rights to patent it. They are just trying to control every feature and make other companies fear of using it. Bottom line is they are trying to create a monopoly yet they state they love competition...right.

posted on 29 Dec 2011, 19:42 1

53. actura (Posts: 8; Member since: 15 Nov 2011)

well, apple ios is good, but this kind of lawsuit things bother me a lot
is apple afraid of losing with android ? why they can just confidence on themselves

posted on 29 Dec 2011, 20:26

54. kcombs (Posts: 275; Member since: 15 Dec 2010)

So people are upset at a patent that Apple applied for over a year ago..

posted on 29 Dec 2011, 21:01 2

58. chadrick0814 (unregistered)

People are upset that apple is applying for a patent for technology that already existed. If Google was able to release facial unlock on ICS, I bet they were working on it well over a year ago. People will really be upset next year when apple sues Samsung for violating the patent. Apple patents things they haven't even created.

posted on 29 Dec 2011, 22:25

68. rockstarlive (Posts: 307; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)


posted on 29 Dec 2011, 20:31 3

55. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)

To the strawman generators:

We are not claiming that Google invented face unlock.

We are not claiming that Apple can't have face unlock.

We are not disputing the time period in which Apple filed its patent application.

What we're worried about is that Apple has a habit of trying to patent ideas and methods that other companies have already used in their products so that they can level the patents granted as weapons against their competitors. The story is also notable because Apple is not the first at all to implement this feature in their OS, yet they're considered the great innovators by iFanboys.

posted on 29 Dec 2011, 20:36

57. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2707; Member since: 26 May 2011)

Why is anyone worried about Apple patenting this? That's just a symptom of the real problem, which is the complete failure of the USPTO to deal with technology patents properly.

posted on 29 Dec 2011, 21:12

61. stealthd (unregistered)

How is this such a failure? Just because someone didn't invent the wheel doesn't mean they can't come up with some novel, patentable uses for it. The patent doesn't give Apple ownership of facial recognition.

posted on 29 Dec 2011, 21:42 1

62. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2707; Member since: 26 May 2011)

There's no such thing as invention, just discoveries. No one invented the car, but someone did discover an efficient way to take wheels, pistons, combustion pressure, etc and make it into a mode of transport.

This patent wouldn't give Apple ownership of facial recognition, but given how broadly patents tend to be written, it would give Apple ownership over using facial recognition on a mobile device to unlock that device. Just like Apple may not own the idea of pushing a latch to the side to unlock something, but it does own the patent on the idea of using that motion on a touchscreen.

The patent system is a failure because it doesn't take into account prior art, or duplicate applications, and it doesn't require a working prototype or compiled code of anything, just a theoretical drawing or description. Case in point, someone was granted a patent for making toast in the year 2000:http://www.google.com/patents/US6080436

That is a complete failure of a patent system.

posted on 29 Dec 2011, 22:29

70. stealthd (unregistered)

The only problem here seems to be that companies are issued patents before the true limits of those patents are determined (in court). It's a little backwards but hardly a complete failure.

posted on 30 Dec 2011, 09:41

80. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2707; Member since: 26 May 2011)

That's almost an impossible thing you're asking. Testing the limits of a patent is tough enough without having a working model of it, let alone the fact that people are notoriously terrible at understanding the full ramifications of new technology. The court system is already overloaded as is, and adding technology patents to the mix make things worse because so few judges can actually understand what they are dealing with. It ends up just being wasteful. The best test of a technology's limits is time. Of course, by the time we fully understand the limits, we've likely moved on to the next thing. Patents don't help any part of that process, they just gunk it up.

posted on 31 Dec 2011, 02:47

88. XiphiasGladius (Posts: 813; Member since: 21 Aug 2011)

The one that worries me is that if this patent is granted it may block the innovation/improvement of the Face Unlock which is implemented by Android, since the idea in the patent that they applied is a leapfrog from the one's that is implemented at the moment in the Android OS. . .

posted on 29 Dec 2011, 21:04

59. smartphone (Posts: 160; Member since: 21 Oct 2011)

soon apple will be filing patent for antigravity, teleportation, time machine etc.
When some body actually invented them(joking) . Apple says hey we file the patent long ago so its ours.

posted on 29 Dec 2011, 21:07 1

60. SensibleVision (Posts: 2; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)

This article describes a small part of the technology that FastAccess has used since we innovated this type of face recognition in 2006. Come see us at CES in a couple weeks. We will demonstrate FastAccess Anywhere – for mobile. Using patent pending technology, we have optimized it to recognize faces in real-world mobile conditions. Our tech is highly resistant to photo and video of an enrolled person’s face. sensiblevision.com/faa

posted on 29 Dec 2011, 21:56 1

63. TKFox007 (Posts: 303; Member since: 02 Nov 2010)

What I don't like about Apple is that they'll file for patents, get them and turn around and sue other companies who were using the idea long before them.

I can only imagine that they're going to use this patent in another lawsuit against Samsung. And because USPTO just hands patents willy nilly

As someone said before, Apple has lost their edge, they've just turned into patent trolls, not to get money, but in an attempt to monopolize the market by making Android devices useless.

Why they don't go after Google is a question that remains largely unanswered. They are the ones who are distributing this "patent infringing" software to manufacturers.

posted on 29 Dec 2011, 22:23

66. rockstarlive (Posts: 307; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)

this story is gonna be pulled down seriously....

Even though I own a android device....

Apple actually filed a patent on this in 2010.

Talk about jumping the gun.

I was looking around andI am pretty sure it was filed in 2010.

Its just that its now taking this long to make it public. almost 2 years.

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