Apple's Multi-User Face Recognition Plans for iPad Revealed in Patent

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Dec 29, 2011.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Back when the iPad was still just a rumor, the Wall Street Journal reported that one of the features that Apple had been working on with their upcoming tablet was the ability to recognize users by face.
    The effort was part of Apple's efforts to make their new tablet a multi-user device. Facial recognition, however, never made it into the iPad, but a newly published patent application gives us insight into this feature that didn't make it into the shipping product.


    Screenshot via PatentlyApple
    AppleInsider notes that the new patent application offers a way for multiple users to share a device:
    The face detection system reportedly could be a low-power system that is always active, allowing face detection to be the primary method to unlock your iOS device. Apple's patent was filed in June, 2010, soon after the first iPad was introduced.

    Face recognition as a security measure, however, has some possible flaws. Google's Android recently introduced a Face Unlock feature as well, but reports have suggested it can be fooled by a photograph of the user.

    Article Link: Apple's Multi-User Face Recognition Plans for iPad Revealed in Patent
  2. AmbiguousNinja macrumors regular


    Jun 15, 2011
    Certainly a useful feature. I could see me using it but I think it would be a bit more useful on computers with more than one user.
  3. rkahl macrumors 65816

    Jul 29, 2010
  4. centauratlas macrumors 6502a


    Jan 29, 2003
    A multi-user function on the iPad would be nice - you may want to let your kids use the iPad, but not (for example) get into your email.

    Whether it is facial recognition or not, something would be nice to have.
  5. BornAgainMac macrumors 603


    Feb 4, 2004
    Florida Resident
    I like having the ability to support multiple accounts on an iPad. I hope they still allow passwords since the camera security is easy to get around. Unless it isn't really intended as a security feature more than a convenience feature of switching profiles.
  6. BJMRamage macrumors 68020


    Oct 2, 2007
    Crazy but Cool idea for sure.

    Imagine letting your child pick it up and all the settings/apps changed for him/her.
    you grab it and all your apps are on the front most screen.

    downside to Apple is selling less devices per family. Upside...maybe a hesitant family would purchase one...then seeing it caught over, just buy multiple ones.

    and Using multiple iPads could mean picking up any iPad and it works for you or a family member that is "subscribed" to the Family iTunes log in.
  7. dokujaryu macrumors 6502


    May 3, 2011
    Irvine, California
    Ugh.... please no face nonsense unless you can really, really, really do it well. I really don't like this idea. Didn't like it on Droid, don't like it on iPhone.
  8. kolax macrumors G3

    Mar 20, 2007
    I want user accounts on the iPad, and this may be part of that.

    What would happen if you showed it a photo of someone else?
  9. *LTD* macrumors G4


    Feb 5, 2009
    More than an even chance Apple will get it right.
  10. iVoid macrumors 65816

    Jan 9, 2007
    They could easily add multi-user capabilities now... but I don't think they will.

    They would rather you buy a iPad/iPhone for every member of the family.
  11. TitoC macrumors 6502


    Jun 15, 2007
    I love it when any of these patent "discoveries" come out.

    The best part is how they get Randall Munroe of XKCD to doodle all of their drawings. Priceless. /s

  12. dokujaryu macrumors 6502


    May 3, 2011
    Irvine, California
  13. fredfnord macrumors regular

    Sep 9, 2007
    Face recognition's flaws

    Google's Android recently introduced a Face Unlock feature as well, but reports have suggested it can be fooled by a photograph of the user.

    And this is why they need to license my new patent, Buttock Recognition™.

    Unless you're a flasher, or one of those guys who likes photocopying his butt at Christmas parties, it's a lot safer. Although admittedly, it's largely security by obscurity...
  14. macduke macrumors 604


    Jun 27, 2007
    Central U.S.
    I actually may have thought of this before Apple. Why didn't I patent it!

    Something like this would be perfect for families. My mom doesn't even use the email app (just uses Safari to login) because my little sister uses it and likes to snoop. When you press the sleep/wake, home button or open the smart cover it could activate the facial recognition. Put in your password and if it matches your face (auto substituting as username) then it configures the iPad once unlocked. Email accounts can be enabled/disabled on the fly, wallpapers switched, apps hidden, shown and reorganized according to user preference. iCloud accounts can be flipped around. But I'd expect something like this to be a bit memory intensive to achieve, so it's likely that only something like the iPad 3 or later with 1GB of ram would see this in the update. But Apple occasionally surprises. But this would be a welcome change. My wife and I share an iPad, but she feels like its not really "hers" because I have the wallpaper, iCloud, and apps organized how I want it. The bookmarks also sync from my Mac so she doesnt even have those. iCloud combined with this user account reconfiguring could be really useful. I think about it less as a security issue and more about convenience and enhanced usability.
  15. Xtremehkr macrumors 68000


    Jul 4, 2004
    I wonder how Apple will perfect this technology, it sounded like an interesting idea when Alienware and some android phones started to incorporate it.

    The problem is that, at least with the android phone, a picture of that person is as good as that person having their face there to unlock the phone.

    Unless it's just a feature designed for convenience and not as much for security.

    I'm waiting for an opportunity to see if Alienware has done anything to combat people gaining access via a picture of the computers owner.
  16. candybaws, Dec 29, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2012
  17. MicroDailyRumor macrumors newbie

    Dec 29, 2011
    This is interesting. pretty much taking siri a step further.
  18. D.T. macrumors 604


    Sep 15, 2011
    Vilano Beach, FL
    Like a few posted above, the FR isn't the most important thing about this to me, it's the idea of multiple users/accounts.

    Separate settings/data for things like calendar, email, (discreet iCloud configurations) some configuration like the restriction option for controlling apps usable by each account, etc.

    I know the single user model potentially creates more sales of devices, but I know at least two families who would buy if they could share the device with discreet accounts/user data.
  19. Marcus-k macrumors regular

    Nov 17, 2011
    Android already has face recognition.
  20. jamesarm97 macrumors 65816

    Sep 29, 2006
    Even if they don't use face recognition, but a simple select user option like the new Facebook for iPad has would be a start. They need a way to change all account information / disable apps with certain users. I don't let anyone borrow my iPad because there are too many apps that you can't password protect that have important data. I would not think it would be hard with all the sandboxing and data separation that they can just point all the apps to a different data location behind the scenes based on the login information.
  21. Winni macrumors 68030


    Oct 15, 2008
    I apologize for raining on your parade, but somebody needs to tell you that Android 4 already has face recognition for authentication built in. It's just ANOTHER feature that Apple "borrows" from Android.
  22. GLS macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2010
    Uh..does this infringe on the Apple patent?
  23. MultiMediaWill macrumors 68000

    Aug 1, 2010
    Thanks but I would like my battery to last longer than an hour and a half.
  24. MacDarcy macrumors 65816

    Jul 21, 2011
    Sometimes technology is cool and useful. Other times it's cool and impractical. I think this face recognition feature belongs in the latter category.

    I'm just seems so impractical. Just because something can be done, doesn't mean people will use it. I don't see many people using this feature at all.

    But hey...i love technology and wouldn't want it to stop. Who knows what other useful things will come from such advances.
  25. nedman macrumors newbie

    Sep 28, 2011
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A405 Safari/7534.48.3)

    Already on the Samsung nexus as standard. Can see a patent feud blowing up! Not like apple!

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