What a difference a day makes. Apple introduced a bunch of new products, mostly variations on a theme– Apple Watch Series 3, Apple TV 4K, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus– and an opportunity to own a slice of the future, but only if you can wait until November and beyond. Mostly beyond.
Of course the new iPhones are better than the last iPhones. Ditto for Watch Series 3 and Apple TV 4K, now with a cellphone option and crazy high resolution television viewing, respectively.
What caught my attention is Face ID which replaces the Touch ID fingerprint sensor in iPhone X. Yes, no Touch ID. Face ID is better. Well, it wasn’t for the first iPhone X that Apple software honcho Craig Federighi used to show it off, but it Face ID is a slice of the future.
iPhone X makes turns your face into your password.
This futuristic technology is called TrueDepth and it works simply enough by spraying 30,000 infrared light dots onto your face, capturing the light in the camera as it bounces and that creates a precise depth map of your face.
That digital face is stored in the iPhone X CPU’s secure enclave, much the way Touch ID was stored. The technology is so good that it can’t easily be tricked by 2D photos or even 3D facial mockups. Just as Touch ID required us to place our fingerprint onto the Home button to be scanned, Face ID has a similar method to map your face, and then continue to map it as you use it.
That means you can cut your hair, wear makeup, trim your brows, grow a mustache or a beard, and Face ID still knows who you are. It’s all about that face. Except maybe Craig Federighi’s face. When the Apple software guru began the Face ID demonstration the first iPhone he used failed. Twice. So he moved quickly to the backup iPhone X and all was well from then on, including an amazing use of the face mapping technology in Face ID to create animated emoji which can be sent within Messages.
In one swell foop Apple launched remarkably improved security features, which are easier to implement, in Face ID with the option of sending animated, talking shit emoji– with actual face movements recorded as you speak– to your boss, loved one, or to the significant other of a relationship gone sour.
Futuristic technology comes at a price, though. Apple managed to keep iPhone X under $1,000 by a dollar, but the 256GB version hits $1,149, $150 less than an entry-level MacBook. Compare that to iPhone 8 Plus which hits $949 or iPhone 8 which starts at $699 for the model you won’t want to buy, last year’s models priced less, or the iPhone SE which starts at $349 but $100 more if you want 128GB of storage.
Sometime in November we’ll read reports of iPhone X users trying to hack the Face ID facial recognition system but it’s likely we’ll see even more shit face emoji from friends who show off their newfound high tech gadgets in a slightly more human way.