Updated: Face ID Demo Fail

David Pogue has received new information from Apple regarding the demo. Apparently, before the keynote began, the iPhone X was being set up for the demo by several apple employees. While being set up, the iPhone X repeatedly scanned these employees’ faces and tried to authenticate via Face ID. Then, “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.” Mystery solved.

Original Story:
Yesterday Apple revealed the new iPhone X. The high end (read: expensive) new flagship ditches the home button in favor of an all screen device. The removal of the home button also means the removal of Touch ID. In its place, Apple introduced Face ID. The new system uses advanced cameras to authenticate a user’s identity. Face ID will be used both to unlock iPhone and for Apple Pay, so it is incredibly important that Face ID works well.

Unfortunately, the first demonstration of Face ID was anything but magical. Instead of working seamlessly, Face ID failed, which required the use of a backup iPhone X. The failure fueled speculation that Face ID is unreliable and a poor substitute for Touch ID.

I suggest reserving judgment until the final device ships. For one, iPhone X does not ship until November. In the interim, Apple has time to put the final touches on the Face ID software. Number two, many of the demos provided after the keynote worked perfectly. There is even speculation that the on-stage failure occurred because the first iPhone X demo unit had not first been unlocked via passcode after being turned on. Even Touch ID requires the passcode be entered when the device is first turned on before allowing a finger print unlock. Lastly, Touch ID isn’t perfect either. Just this morning my iPhone 7 failed to unlock with my finger print, requiring two more attempts before Touch ID worked successfully. No solution is perfect, so let’s wait until the final device ships before comparing Face ID with Touch ID.

iOS > Mac OS X?

I read an interesting article today wherein Ben Brooks, the author, described his switch to an iPad Pro as his primary work machine. He argues that iOS is a more advanced operating system than Mac OS X because, in large part, of its simplicity. He notes, “When I look at what people are clinging to on OS X, I see a group clinging to the very things which make computing more complex. We always give way to ease of use.” To summarize Brooks’ point in one line: “I really like Mac OS X, and the MacBook, and would have no problems using them, but knowing what it is like to be on iOS only now — with that knowledge — there’s no way I don’t want to be on iOS.”

In contrast, in a recent video I suggested — mostly incidentally to the message of the video — that iOS isn’t as robust as OS X. To me, multitasking just isn’t there yet in iOS. I still have concern about using an iPad beyond simple media consumption, as my current iPad 3rd generation is basically a netflix and spotify only tool. Moreover, I have my doubts about being able to utilize an iPad for the intense research and writing that the law profession entails.

On the other hand, unlike Brooks, I have yet to really try. In the next few weeks I will be picking up a new 9.7″ iPad Pro. Besides just replacing my older iPad, I’m hoping the power of a new flagship will allow me to test the iPad platform as a viable creation tool, both in terms of media content and in regard to academic/career work. I will be sure to share my thoughts on both points. In the interim, I’m interested in hearing your thoughts. Is iOS, as Brooks asserts, the superior platform? Or, is iOS still too immature?

iPhone Pro

Rumors have splashed across the internet about an upcoming product dubbed the “iPhone Pro.” Some rumors suggest that this will replace the iPhone x+ while others state it will be a special and supplementary version of x+. Jon at technobuffalo seems skeptical of the name change. Nevertheless, I do believe that Apple will look to adopt the Pro nomenclature for the iPhone line this year.

For one, Apple already does this with their Macbook and iPad lines. The Pro term makes laptops and iPads easily and quickly distinguishable from their less powerful siblings. Plus, the Pro terms makes a higher price tag more palatable.

Moreover, Apple has no qualms with renaming their products to simplify product lines. When the retina iPad 3rd generation was released, it wasn’t called iPad 3. Rather, it was simply called the new iPad. Continually adding modifiers to a product name makes it more and more confusing to follow. Does iPhone 11 plus ultra edition sound clean and simple to you?

Overall, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least for Apple to rename their iPhone lineup in 2016. Perhaps iPhone SE for the 4″ device, simply iPhone for the 4.7″ device, and iPhone Pro for the 5.5″ device. This change, based solely on my reasoning and not the rumor mill, clarifies the lineup beautifully.