The September 12 event is just around the corner, but the leaks and rumors continue. AppleInsider has recently seen an investor’s note by acclaimed KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In the briefing, Kuo details the components and inner workings of the ‘Face ID’ technology that’s supposed to take the place of Touch ID.
What Is 'Face ID'?
The technology was referenced in HomePod firmware as Pearl ID, but a recent iOS 11 GM leak refers to it as “Face ID.” This is the facial recognition system expected by many to replace Touch ID fingerprint technology in the next-generation iPhone. It obviously needs to be extremely accurate as well as fast, and the rumors are pointing to Cupertino meeting both of those requirements.
Face ID, from what we’ve been told so far, combines an infrared reading of the face, detailing its various depths, along with a two-dimensional image from the front-facing camera. This combination yields a three-dimensional image of the human face, which the software algorithms in the new iPhone will be able to match to the owner of the device.
A Four-Component System
The main components of Apple's Face ID technology, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi KuoCredit: AppleInsider
Kuo says that Apple is relying on four main components for Face ID to work. Those include a structured light transmitter, structured light receiver, the front-facing camera, and a time of flight/proximity sensor.
Multiple reports have suggested the structured light modules are vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) arrays that function in the infrared spectrum. They collect the depth information required to generate a three-dimensional map of the face, which is much more accurate in authenticating someone than a simple two-dimensional image.
The VCSEL arrays have distance constrains of an estimated 50cm to 100cm, which is why the system needs the proximity sensor. Kuo believes data from this sensor will be used to trigger alerts notifying the user they have their iPhone too far away or too close to their face for optimal three-dimensional sensing.
Other Notes From Kuo
Kuo reveals a few other tidbits in his note to investors. The ambient light sensor deployed in the upcoming iPhone, he says, will support True Tone display technology. True Tone technology, introduced in 2016 and utilized in several models of the iPad Pro, alters device display color temperatures dynamically. Kuo says this functionality will improve the performance of Face ID.
Kuo also believes that all OLED iPhone models — white, black, and gold — will have a black coating on their front cover glass to conceal the VCSEL array, proximity sensor, and ambient light sensor from view.
Stay Tuned for Full Coverage of the New iPhone
Here at AppAdvice, we’re closing monitoring the rumor and speculation mills. We’ll bring you news as it comes to us, along with full coverage of the event on September 12.