Your iPhone might soon be able to recognize you just by your face. However, the exact applications that would be used by such technology isn't quite clear. All that Apple fan site 9to5mac.com has managed to figure out is that the new iPhone firmware will apparently have some sort of face recognition feature.
Of course it's very possible there will be little or no direct use of the functionality from Apple. Instead, it could just leave the creativity part up to app developers.
The new face recognition tools will reportedly be included in API controls that will be open and released to any developer that wants to use them.
Apple acquired a company called Polar Rose last year; the digital start-up specializes in face recognition, and since the acquisition we haven't seen anything from Apple that really uses that specialization. So it seems like this has probably been in the works for several months if not longer.
Facial recognition in a mobile app environment may seem like a rather niche idea. Social networking apps would likely be the most favorable market, allowing users to automatically tag pictures of family and friends.
But who knows what else those crazy developers might come up with? What would be really cool, though, is if Apple starts letting users sign into their iTunes account simply by looking into the front-facing camera.
All of this is just rampant speculation at this point, but we'll see all the details when iOS 5 is pushed out in the next couple months.