It’s every company’s worst nightmare: you finally make a grand announcement to the world about the imminent launch of your new, much-hyped flagship product, and come the day you demonstrate its marvels to the world, something goes embarrassingly wrong. This is what happened to Craig Federighi during Apple’s launch of the iPhone X on Tuesday, when Face ID seemingly failed to recognise his face!
Speculation about what happened during the iPhone X demo is rife. Some say the password lock failed, while others blame the Face ID application itself. Apple sticks to the former explanation, saying the phone locked itself after a number of people ‘had interacted’ with it before Federighi’s speech.
An Apple representative said: “People were handling the device for stage demo ahead of time, and didn’t realise Face ID was trying to authenticate their face. After failing a number of times, because they weren’t Craig, the iPhone did what it was designed to do, which was to require his passcode.”
With Touch ID the phone locks after five unsuccessful attempts, after which you then have to enter your password. Face ID, however, doesn’t allow more than two unsuccessful attempts before locking the phone. In Apple’s defence it has to be said that a back-up iPhone X unlocked without any issues.
The finer details of Face ID and exactly how reliable it is will only become known in November when the iPhone X makes its debut. Members of the press had an opportunity to play around with the device after the launch, and they gave mixed reviews. While most of them were impressed with the Face ID feature, one or two reported that it failed to work before the screen was turned on and off.
Face ID utilises infrared scanning technology to produce the mathematical equivalent of the user’s face. This is then compared to the facial image stored on the phone before allowing access. According to Apple this feature works even in bad light and when the owner is wearing glasses, a hat, makeup, or a beard.