AppleInsider is reporting that Apple has been awarded a patent that embodies face detection and recognition technologies. What's more, the patent covers a method for allowing users to control their device -- whether it be a Mac or iOS device -- via various facial expressions.
In one proposed use case, an incoming call to an iOS device would result in different events depending on whether or not a recognized face is detected facing the screen. If a recognized user is detected, the full incoming call interface would present itself. If not, the phone would merely ring without any of the additional bells and whistles.
In another example, an incoming email can be blocked from view unless the authorized user's face is detected by the system. This implementation would be helpful for users who choose to display part of the message in the lock screen.
Now before anyone raises their arms in dismay and wonders why Apple would ever implement this type of functionality, it's important to remember that Apple often patents technologies that it has no plans on implementing in the near future, and sometimes at all.
At the same time, recall that face detection and recognition is a rather broad topic. To that end, it stands to reason that Apple may have plans for the technology that aren't exactly laid out in the patent application itself, which we should note, was filed back in 2008. The inventors listed include Jeff Gonion and Robert Duncan Kerr.