The Tuesday (US time) release of the Apple’s new smartphone, the iPhone X, saw the hero feature of the updated handset fail its first demonstration and the company’s share price drop soon after.
The phone’s most exciting update is a facial recognition scanner called Face ID that unlocks the handset and authorises Apple Pay payments or third-party app functions. It replaces the Touch ID fingerprint scanner.
When Craig Federighi, senior vice president of Software Engineering, attempted to demonstrate Face ID to the world for the first time, the handset failed to recognise him and produced the standard login screen instead.
Federighi released a sigh and moved to a backup handset, which he successfully unlocked with just a glance.
One could speculate that this failure was partly responsible for the drop taken by Apple stock, which rose in anticipation of the event but began to slide immediately after features of the new iPhone were unveiled.
The new phone’s uncharacteristically delayed ship date of November 3 could also be responsible.
How secure is Face ID?
Using the new front-facing TrueDepth camera, Face ID will create a unique facial scan of the user that Apple says has a one-in-a-million chance of being spoofed.
More than a simple photograph, TrueDepth effectively creates a ‘deep’ map of a user’s features.
Other smartphone facial scanners on the market aren’t so comprehensive and can be fooled by simple measures, like using a high-resolution photo of a person’s face or retina.
This information is also encrypted and kept on the handset only, not sent back to Apple HQ, so it is impossible to obtain your facial data by any means except via secure access to the handset.
Other updates announced at the keynote included changes to the world’s number-one selling watch, the new Apple Watch Series 3.
The watch now features a built-in cellular service which affords users complete mobile connectivity which also means you can enjoy streaming music services on-the-go. This is a game changer.
Along with a new dual-core processor, giving Siri the power of speech, along with speed and connectivity improvements, Watch Series 3 also packs a new altimeter that counts steps and flights climbed, along with elevation for outdoor activities, like snowboarding.
Many alternatives offer a selection of these functions, but not all. Expect these improvements to cement Apple Watch in pole position for a number of years to come.
Apple’s home entertainment service, Apple TV, now boasts 4K resolution – offering four times the resolution of HD.
HDR colour also offers improved depth and luminosity. Great improvements for those who have a 4K TV, which likely sports HDR.
Good news for movie and TV lovers – any existing iTunes purchases will be automatically upgraded to 4K video, where available.
This all comes with a big caveat for Australians: you will need a reliable internet connection of 15Mbps or greater to enjoy streaming 4K video.
Considering Australia is currently ranked 50th in the world for internet speed, with an average of 11.1 Mbps, that won’t leave many people in a position to enjoy the 4K fruits of the new Apple TV.