In what could be a futuristic development for future iPhones (and iPads and iPods as well), this week the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office shed light on something Apple may be tinkering with. A patent application out of Cupertino suggests that Apple wants future iDevice to recognize and react to individual users.
Simply put, the iDevices could be "taught" to identify a user based on their appearance, detected heartbeat, or sound of their voice (like voice activation). The patent in question shows that Apple is enamored of "Systems and Methods for Identifying Unauthorized Users of an Electronic Device." Ultimately, the recognition features would be of a security nature, possibly preventing unauthorized users from using an iPhone, iPad, or iPod that isn't theirs - one that contains sensitive personal information. "The photograph, recording, or heartbeat can be compared, respectively, to a photograph, recording or heartbeat of authorized users of the electronic device to determine whether they match," the patent application reveals. "If they do not match, the current user can be detected as an unauthorized user."
If you've been wondering what to expect from iPhone 5, the next-generation, beyond an all-new and improved antenna, then let me share a few ideas with you -- your iPhone will be your wallet, your house keys, your identity, the center of your mobile existence. At least, that's how it appears on news of Apple's hiring of near field communications (NFC) expert Benjamin Vigier.
Interestingly, should this technology be implemented, it would also make it possible to prevent unauthorized users from tinkering with the handset in ways that our community knows a thing or two about - specifically, jailbreaking and hacking the iPhone. Come to think of it, I guess this sort of thing might be the only way Apple can prevent all of its floor model iDevices from getting jailbroken at Apple Stores.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office