Some of Apple's rivals including the HTC One M8 have camera features that allow you to achieve similar results, so it's certainly a potential feature for the next iPhone.
iPhone 8 and beyond: Security & privacy
Apple has come out strongly in favour of user privacy, as was demonstrated in its recent tussle with the FBI in the US. But what technoloigcal developments can it offer to back this up?
In December 2014, USPTO awarded Apple a patent relating to a "personal computing device control using face detection and recognition".
Current iPhones and iPads can be unlocked using just your fingerprint, thanks to the Touch ID sensor. But with this patent, future iPhones and other devices could be unlocked using facial recognition: effectively, your face becomes your password.
Attack detection mode
In March 2014, USPTO published an Apple patent filing that could be used to protect iPhone owners when they're in distress.
The patent, titled "Mobile emergency attack and failsafe detection", describes a feature that combines software and hardware to create an emergency services request system that's build in to a smartphone such as the iPhone.
Using the iPhone's sensors, the software could detect when the user is in an emergency situation such as a physical attack or car crash and automatically call for help. Users can set a predefined set of contact numbers, or use the iPhone's automatic service to call local 999 numbers. It can also make use of the GPS to detect the location of the user and call the contact that's closest.
To avoid an abundance of 999 calls being placed unnecessarily, the service has a number of modes and measures in place, such as audible warnings that a call is about to be made.
Source: Macworld UK
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