To think that it was less than 6 years ago that Apple introduced the first iPhone that would change the cellular game forever. The iPhone meant that a phone was no longer just a phone, it was a phone, an internet browser, a gaming device and more. It meant that our habits and the way we interacted with each other changed dramatically. Our interaction with phones may be shifting yet again with reports that Apple will be ditching its passcodes in search of alternatives and rumors that the new Samsung will feature touch-free technology.
Just this week the US Patent and Trademark Office published a patent, applied for by Apple in 2011, for a system that involves image recognition. As an alternative to the numerical passcodes that are currently used, the system would take images recognizable to the phone owner – say from their contact list – and have the owner identify the image to unlock their phone.
This is not the only avenue Apple is exploring. Other patents reveal facial recognition is a possibility, with the Apple product unlocking upon recognition of the owners’ face. The company also purchased a biometrics company last year, leading to rumors that biometrics such as fingerprints could be the new way to protect your phone’s privacy. It is way of personalizing your phone on an even deeper level, where truly no one can access it but you.
Samsung also has rumors whirling about the possible direction its smartphone could be taking. The company could be ditching the traditional touchscreen interface in favor of touch-free screen that is controlled simply by gestures. Reports from an industry insider to Korean website DDaily say that it is possible that the Galaxy S4 screen will simply require a user to flick their finger without touching the screen.
We will have to wait and see which rumors will play out, but whatever happens it could be a whole new era of smartphones.