Apple is bringing sophisticated computer vision – including facial recognition – to its next major iOS update.
The announcement came via a bigger iOS 10 preview for this week’s WWDC developer’s conference, and while other new features such as animated Messages and new smart home functionality will likely make a splash among consumers, the computer vision technology being prepared for the Photos app’s new Memories feature could really raise some eyebrows. Apple says the technology will allow the app to recognize places, events, and people, and to group and search users’ pictures accordingly.
It’s similar technology to that used in Facebook’s Moments app, which landed that company into some legal trouble over allegations of privacy violations pertaining to the biometric profiles of individuals whose images were uploaded to that system. But in announcing Memories, Apple was careful to emphasize that all image matching performed by the app is done on the user’s device, which is secured with end-to-end encryption.
It’s an approach that could keep Apple out of the kind of legal difficulties that Facebook and others have encountered over facial biometrics technologies, and it could also prove to be a selling point as Apple continues to position itself as a tech company prioritizing user privacy and security.