New iPhone, new payment authorization among Apple keynote rumors

Posted by Ryan Raubenheimer on

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The clock is ticking as Apple gears up for its Fall product release, with the big ticket items tipped to be a total redesign of the latest iPhone, and 3D facial scanning technology to unlock its flagship device and authorise payments.

On September 12 the tech giant will host its big reveal of all latest things Apple, with a new Apple Watch that may be able to make phone calls also among the items rumored to be revealed.

Apple keynote events always attract a flurry of speculation in advance, and this year has been no different with much discussion on the possibility of facial recognition, 3D cameras and all the new gadgetry the Apple iPhone 8 and Apple Watch 3 may soon boast.

So let’s take a look at some rumors including facially authorized payments…

The Apple iPhone 8

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Apple’s game-changing iPhone, and many expect a major redesign to mark the event.

This would take us to version 8 of the ever-popular iPhone, which remains among, if not the, most popular smartphone brand. Gartner placed Apple second among all smartphone retailers in the first financial quarter of 2017, while Strategy Analytics placed the iPhone 7 as the number one selling smartphone during the same period, shipping 21.5 million units during the period and holding 6% of the market share.

So what next?

Speculation covered by Macworld and TechRadar indicate the new iPhone may include:

  • A redesigned screen - This rumor leads the charge, with predictions the iPhone 8 will feature a radically redesigned screen which might be 5.8 inches and AMOLED in a smaller frame.
  • Wireless charging
  • No physical Home button - Instead the phone might utilize gesture control or a virtual Home button
  • Face unlock - Using a 3D scanning face sensor to unlock the device.
  • Augmented reality features
  • 3D cameras
  • Longer battery life

Facial recognition and payments

While a redesign would be timely, and Apple would hope warmly welcomed, it’s the possibility of facial recognition unlocking that has many tech experts abuzz.

The speculation is reportedly based on a series of accidental leaks from HomePod firmware, which also runs IOS.

The Verge reports: “In the latest discoveries, developers have uncovered what looks like a resizable home button for the new handset, as well as support for Apple Pay authentication using facial recognition”.

They continue developer Guilherme Rambo found references to ‘Pearl ID’ (Apple’s codename for its facial recognition system). These suggest the software will be able to store multiple faces and will be accessible by third party apps.

“The firmware also includes the phrase ‘multi biometric,’ which suggests the phone might support two-step biometric authentication for extra security. That would mean combining, say, facial recognition and fingerprint ID. Additionally, the firmware code suggests that both the front and rear camera of the phone will be used for facial recognition.”

What this means for payments

It’s not the first time facial recognition for payment authorization has made the news. Last year payment behemoth Mastercard announced “Selfie Payments” were being tested in Europe with plans to roll out globally.

The process works for users already utilizing Mastercard to make online or mobile payments, with the company developing a downloadable app that helps authentic these transactions.

During set-up users take a facial image of themselves which is sent to Mastercard to provide facial biometrics. When making a payment the consumer receives a pop-up during checkout that prompts them to authorize a payment by taking a selfie.

In a bid to thwart any attempts at fraud the consumer will need to blink to prove it's a real, not static, or stolen image. Alternatively, the app also allows consumers to use their fingerprint for identity verification.

But if Apple were to embrace facial recognition technology, it would take biometric payments to a whole new level.

Further rumors about the facial recognition technology covered by Macrumors indicate: “Apple's upcoming facial recognition system is said to be faster and more secure than Touch ID. It can unlock an iPhone within a few hundred milliseconds, and it captures more data points than a fingerprint scan”.

“It's not yet clear how Apple Pay will work without a Home button and without a fingerprint, but it will presumably be able to authenticate by scanning a user's face, with a payment completed via a finger on the screen as is the case in current iPhones,” the continue in a further article.

The final word

Whether or not all these rumors come to fruition remains to be seen, but the leaks do indicate Apple is edging ever closer to facial recognition. It may be a matter of when, not if, this technology is deployed by perhaps the mobile industry’s largest mover and shaker.

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