Apple has just bought face recognition software company Polar Rose reports are suggesting.

The company, which has now closed down, used to develop a piece of software called FaceCloud "an end-to-end scalable server-side solution for adding face recognition to virtually any service."

In plain English that means software that can automatically name everyone in a photo album or automatically tag people in a photo.

Together with FaceLib, another Polar Rose application, it could also provide auto-tagging at point-of-capture - ie when you take a picture, as well as allowing you to attach social networking details to people you've tagged in the past.

Apple could use the new technology to automatically allow you to tag people when you take photos of them, or even just to allow you to look at your phone to unlock it.

It could also use the software to do the same with its MacBook laptop and iMac line of PCs allowing as they all include a webcam as standard.

Apple already uses tagging in its iPhoto software application allowing you to manually tag people so you can then search for their face later on. Although the software features an auto tagging element it's currently a hit and miss process, something we are sure Apple would like to improve on.