First, Retina displays. They have reached the point where finding a pixel on a smartphone’s screen is a challenge. Even Macs have Retina displays. Going backwards to use non-retina devices brings about visual pain. Backwards, passwords. More recently, fingerprint scanners. Today, facial recognition. What about next year?
Electronic Roving Eyes
Any analysis of Apple’s impact on technology needs to be a few of history, the present, and an extrapolated future. For the past decade or so, it is Apple that has shown the world how computers should work, how mobile devices can benefit humanity, and how we can be more secure with less effort.
Go backwards to passwords. Good security required complex passwords. Complex passwords are difficult to remember, so humanity stepped into what humanity too often leaves behind, and decided not to use complex passwords. Apple to the rescue with Touch ID’s fingerprint sensor technology which became the de facto standard to unlock mobile devices with little more than a touch to a button.
That was then and this is now and Touch ID will be replaced by advanced Face ID facial recognition technology that does the same thing for security by enhances ease-of-use, and presents an array of options for the future. Touch ID on the Mac? Forgetaboutit! Face ID rocks. Walk up to your Mac and move your hands to the keyboard and your Mac’s Face ID recognizes you and unlocks the device. 2018? Probably. Just as likely we will see similar technology in future iPads. 2018? Sure, why not?
We’re just getting started. If Apple has shown the technology industry that a facial scan can work to unlock device with ease, what else can Face ID do besides show up in a Mac or iPad?
Yes, the Animoji animations in Messages for iPhone X are cool and all that, and yes, they set Apple’s text messaging platform apart from competitors, but what else is on the way? Where will Apple take this advance recognition system?
We’re already there.
Face ID sits in the TrueDepth camera and sensor array in iPhone X’s Notch, but that means the technology faces the user. What if a similar version of 3D mapping technology is pointed in the other direction to work with the iPhone’s near-DSLR quality camera system?
Augmented reality, anyone?
Wait. Don’t we have AR already? Yes, iPhone’s are so powerful they can recognize various surfaces and drop augmented reality objects where we think they should be. The animated filters on Snapchat can tell us where this is headed from a front-facing perspective and without iPhone X’s face recognition technology, but what about what we see in the other direction– through the iPhone’s camera?
By this time next year I expect we will see more Apple products with Face ID built in, but in 2019 every major device will have it, competitors will have it, and the next event will be similar recognition technology that combines 3D recognition with camera and image object recognition to add a layer of intelligence to our devices that goes beyond what we see with Face ID, Animoji, or anything in virtual reality.
Our devices– whether from Apple, Google, Samsung, Microsoft, Amazon, or others, will begin to collect and analyze data on everything we see, everything around us, and then begin to make decisions for us.
Next year, Face ID probably goes everywhere and while I look forward to an extra layer of security combined with ease-of-use, I worry about what information such technology can capture and store and what will be done with the data and analysis.
A new day is coming. And it’s started this year.