Just a year ago Apple made the decision to purchase Polar Rose, a Swedish face recognition firm. Since then it seems it’s been busy incorporating Polar Rose’s face identification algorithms into iOS 5, the next revision of their popular operating system. We’re talking about Apple here — the integration goes far beyond a simple app. Face detection and recognition is built into iOS 5 with API handles.

By adding such controls to the iOS API, Apple is granting third-party apps permission to access the core face recognition tech. Code like “hasLeftEyePosition,” “mouthPosition” and the image processing for identification means that any application can both track faces and recognize users.

This means games can track face positions, apps can automatically tag people’s faces they can identify, and smart video apps can use facial cues to manage digital image stabilization.

Apple may even use facial recognition as part of its secure user authentication for future wireless wave-and-pay systems, which we know the company been working on.

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