Apple has just been granted a patent for facial recognition tech that could make future iPhones smarter and more secure.
The patent mentions several different ways an iPhone or iPad could detect a user's face, extract meaningful characteristics from the image, and compare it to the list of approved users' features. The device could then unlock itself, having been satisfied that a verified user and not a snooper or a thief is trying to access the phone's data. This sort of trick should instantly remind you of Apple's new TouchID fingerprint system on the iPhone 5S, because it works in much the same way. But this facial recognition tech is a potentially easier and swifter way of verification.
The seamlessness of face recognition versus fingerprint IDs could let the phone vary how it responds when an action happens. For example, an incoming phone call would have all caller details shown to the real user, but if a stranger or, more realistically, a nosy sibling, picked up the phone, the device would merely show an incoming call. Private data like emails or perhaps bank data would only be shown to genuine users.