Apple has been relatively quiet in the AI Identity and Access Verification sector compared to competitors Samsung and Google. Apple only has twenty-four (24) patent documents in the last five years, as opposed to Samsung's seventy-three (73) and Google's fifty-five (55). However, recently they have shown an interest in biometrics and user input. These could be two distinct technologies that they could pursue through acquisition, similar to how they bought AuthenTec in 2012 that led to them launching Touch ID on the iPhone.
The first area of interest is in biometrics where they were issued a patent teaching of a way to use voice recognition for authentication in 2018 (US Patent #10102359). Interestingly, this appears to be their only patent for this method despite being a valuable idea based on their goals. Given their interest in continuing to make Siri integrated more throughout their ecosystem, giving the option for voice authentication would make for a truly hands-free experience without any limitations. Similar to their acquisition of AuthenTec, it would not be surprising to see Apple invest in a start-up that has experience in working with voice biometrics to give Apple a foundation to build off of.
The second area of interest is in user input, where notably Apple has filed five (5) patent applications that were all published on July 2nd of this year. These patents teach of a way to verify user identity through cryptography paired with verification of passports or student IDs. These patents also teach of a way to revoke verified identity status if a device is lost. This builds on their trend into this sector with the announcement of student IDs being held in the Apple Wallet last year. As Apple builds their products to become the manager and center for identities through features like the Apple Card, student IDs, and Sign-In with Apple, they have a much larger responsibility to handle that information securely and make sure that someone cannot steal the identity of a user just by stealing their phone or other Apple devices. As Apple looks for more ways to incorporate cryptography into their identity management they may look to acquire smaller companies to help them build that side of their technology.
Finally, Apple is committed to continuing FaceID with a patent issued on Tuesday (US Patent #10719692) describing a way to distinguish users based on their vein structure. This patent would theoretically help Apple solve the twin-problem that has caused problems for FaceID so far with family members that have a similar bone structure in their face being able to authenticate on the other person's phone. It is a very interesting patent and should help keep Apple in the lead on facial authentication for devices despite them being less active in the space than their competitors.
Be sure to check out the claims of their new patent with Patent Matrix® and check out the Magic Number® AI Cybersecurity Patent Forecast® to see more about the new developments in Identity and Access Verification!