Screenshots acquired by 9to5 Mac reveal a gesture-based passcode lock screen already in use internally at Apple. The AppleConnect iOS application for employees makes use of the feature.
Much like a similar gesture-based passcode lock found on Android devices, the Apple version allows users to set a private code based on points that are connected by the user on the screen. The iOS version has a progress bar indicating the strength of an individual gesture entered for use as a passcode.
Currently iPhones use text entry as a means to lock the device. In theory the gesture-based lock screen is more secure as it adds more possible options with nine dots that can be connected in any pattern. Entering the gesture code means simply dragging your finger over the screen instead of typing in a code. Apple's version has a Done button to indicate when a user is finished entering their personal gesture code, unlike Android phones which unlock when the gesture is complete.
Apple may deploy the gesture lock screen on additional internal applications, such as those that Genius Bar and other retail store employees use daily. It's not clear whether or not Apple plans to launch the gesture-based passcode lock on consumer devices as Google currently has a patent on the feature. Recently the iPhone passcode lock security feature was patched to correct a flaw that allowed unauthorized access to iOS devices.Future iPhones may skip the passcode lock feature entirely with new biometric capabilities. The front facing camera currently featured on the iPhone 4 can easily be coupled with new iOS software to indentify faces and provide access to a device immediately upon recognition. With Apple's recent purchase of Polar Rose technology, it's possible the company is working on face recognition for iOS 5 and future mobile devices.