Analyst: 2017 iPhone may offer facial recognition (but I’d not bet on this until 2018)

In a note to clients — as noted by Business Insider -- Cowen and Company analyst Timothy Arcuri said that the “iPhone 8” could include "some form of facial/gesture recognition.”

He writes: "Other features appear to include some form of facial/gesture recognition supported by a new laser sensor and an infrared sensor mounted near the front-facing camera and, as expected, should also finally include wireless charging.”

Cowen is also expecting a new 5.8-inch iPhone in addition to existing 4.7- and 5.5-inch models. The super-sized smartphone will reportedly have an OLED screen, which uses less power and produces deeper blacks. Cowen prognosticates that the 5.8-inch model will have a "wraparound" design and will integrate the Touch ID fingerprint sensor "under the glass and in the active display area.”

My crystal ball says he’s probably right about a 5.8-inch model. However, I don’t think we’ll see facial recognition this year. But it is coming, both for iOS and Mac devices.

Apple has been granted a patent (number 9,477,829) for “locking and unlocking a mobile device using facial recognition.” Per the patent, an unlocked mobile device is configured to capture images, analyze the images to detect a user's face, and automatically lock the device in response to determining that a user's face doesn’t appear in the images. The camera capturing and face recognition processing may be triggered by the device having detected that it has been motionless for a set period of time.