Pearl ID might accurately scan your face even when iPhone 8 is laid flat

The rumored facial recognition feature on iPhone 8, internally called Pearl ID, should be capable of scanning a user’s face reliably even when the phone is laid on its back on a flat surface, according to evidence uncovered from the HomePod firmware by Brazilian outlet iHelp.

Classed as an accessibility feature and referred to as “AXRestingPearlUnlock” and “”, the finding suggests the face scanner should work without issues even when iPhone 8 is laying flat on a table.

An iOS developer recently discovered evidence in the HomePod firmware that the new 3D sensor is so accurate that it should potentially support Apple Pay.

At present, Apple Pay depends on a fingerprint to authenticate purchases in a secure manner.

Just like Touch ID, Pearl ID is said to work in apps as well. The HomePod firmware files also contain references to an auto-lock security feature that might auto-lock the phone if the face scanner detects an unregistered face.

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman said in July that Pearl ID would capture more data points than Touch ID, potentially making it more secure than Apple’s advanced fingerprint scanner.

An improved security system would permit users to log in, authenticate payments and launch secure apps by scanning their face, according to people familiar with the product.

Here’s an excerpt from Gurman’s report:

The sensor’s speed and accuracy are focal points of the feature.

It can scan a user’s face and unlock iPhone 8 within a few hundred milliseconds, the person said. It is designed to work even if the device is laying flat on a table, rather than just close up to the face.

The feature is still being tested and may not appear with the new device. However, the intent is for it to replace the Touch ID fingerprint scanner, according to the person.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted earlier in the year that Apple would outfit iPhone 8 with an advanced 3D-sensing chip using technology from PrimeSense, an Israeli startup it acquired in 2013 and whose technology made possible the Xbox console’s Kinect motion sensor and Google’s Project Tango initiative.

Located next to both front and rear cameras, the sophisticated sensor is thought to consist of an infrared transmitter and an infrared receiver and use time-of-flight measurements to bring depth and location detection to the FaceTime camera.

By shooting the infrared light at various angles, the sensor should be capable of scanning a user’s face accurately even when the device is laying on its back on a flat surface like a table.

Assuming all of the above is true, this exciting technology could potentially allow iPhone 8 to recognize people’s faces in both light and dark-lit environments (thanks, infrared light!) , and at weird angles, once again forcing Apple’s rivals to scramble to keep up.

Image top of post from Facebook’s DeepFace scan.