Back in June 2010, Apple filed a patent, now made public, for face recognition as a means for starting up its iOS devices. Snapping a pic of your mug, the device would then compare the image to ones already stored on the device, using easy indicators such as eyes and mouth to authorize access.

Apple’s patent puts it almost a year and a half ahead of Android’s public unveiling of the similar Face Unlock technology back in October, so expect Apple to file suit and claim Google as copycats.

[via Engadget]