Apple software engineering chief Craig Federighi today joined Daring Fireball‘s John Gruber on an episode of The Talk Show, where he likened uncertainties over Face ID to the concerns that customers expressed when Touch ID first launched in 2013 in the iPhone 5s.
Honestly, we’re just all counting the days that customers can finally get their hands on these. Because I think just like with Touch ID, initially people thought oh, ‘Apple’s done something that’s totally not going to work and I’m not a believer and I’m not gonna use this feature.’
Now everyone’s worried because they can’t imagine life without Touch ID. We’re going to see exactly the same thing with Face ID.
In a discussion that revisited the on-stage gaffe that saw Face ID fail to authenticate his face during Tuesday’s event, Federighi said he was shocked when it happened because the feature normally “just works.” He went on to say he understands the uncertainty, but that it will “melt away” once people experience the product. “You don’t even think about it,” he said.
Federighi went on to say that as much as Apple loves Touch ID, Face ID is “that much better.” He confirmed that Apple believes Face ID is the future of biometric authentication, with the caveat that there are settings where different biometric techniques or combinations of biometrics could make sense.
Much of the rest of the discussion covered the same topics that were discussed in Federighi’s earlier interview with TechCrunch. Federighi reiterated that most sunglasses work with Face ID, aside from some that have coatings that block infrared. One way around that, he says, is to turn off the “attention aware” feature that requires eye contact for Face ID to unlock.
He also explained why users need to swipe to get past the lock screen of the iPhone X, rather than it opening directly with a facial scan – it’s so you can still glimpse at the time, check your notifications, or get to the flashlight without the iPhone opening up to the Home screen. The swipe and scan are simultaneous with no real waiting period or delay.
One last little tidbit — with the feature that allows you to disable Face ID temporarily by pressing the side button and the volume buttons, it also takes a screenshot because the gestures are the same. Apple’s looking into fixing that by deleting the screenshot when a press and hold gesture is detected.
Face ID, Apple’s new facial recognition feature in the iPhone X, has left users with a lot of questions about how it works. While Apple has offered detailed explanations of Face ID on its website, there continue to be questions and concerns given that this is a new biometric system.
To answer some of those questions, Apple software engineering chief Craig Federighi did a telephone interview with TechCrunch, where he covered topics on privacy, security, and functionality.
TechCrunch‘s Matthew Panzarino, who spoke to Federighi, says he’s heard Face ID is “incredibly reliable” and “very fast,” worth noting because many people have wondered how quickly it works.
According to Federighi, Face ID needs to see your eyes, nose, and mouth, so there are some situations where it won’t work and a passcode will need to be used instead. The limitations are similar to the limitations with Touch ID, which, for example, prevent it from being used with gloves.
“If you’re a surgeon or someone who wears a garment that covers your face, it’s not going to work,” says Federighi. “But if you’re wearing a helmet or scarf it works quite well.”
Panzarino asked Federighi to expand on how the feature works with sunglasses and whether polarization is an issue, following confirmation earlier this week that Face ID is compatible with most pairs. Federighi says polarization isn’t a problem, but there are some lenses that have a coating that blocks IR, and if that’s the case, a customer will need to use a passcode or take them off.
Face ID will work from multiple angles and distances when a device is held at a natural angle, but it needs to see your face.
“It’s quite similar to the ranges you’d be at if you put your phone in front facing camera mode [to take a picture],” says Federighi. Once your space from eyes to mouth come into view that would be the matching range – it can work at fairly extreme angles — if it’s down low because your phone is in your lap it can unlock it as long as it can see those features. Basically, If you’re using your phone across a natural series of angles it can unlock it.”
When it comes to security, Apple says that all Face ID processing is done on device with nothing uploaded to the cloud or Apple’s servers, a point Federighi reiterated in the interview. Apple collects no data when the TrueDepth camera in the iPhone X scans your face, and the feature that allows Face ID to adapt to appearance changes is done entirely on device.
“We do not gather customer data when you enroll in Face ID, it stays on your device, we do not send it to the cloud for training data,” he said.
When it comes to law enforcement requests for Face ID data, Apple has no data to provide. Your Face ID scan is converted into a mathematical model in the Secure Enclave on the iPhone X, and it can’t be reverse engineered back into a face. As with Touch ID, none of that data is ever sent to Apple. Third-party developers don’t have access, either.
Federighi also expanded a bit on the method Apple implemented to discretely disable Face ID in a situation where someone might steal your phone and attempt to unlock it with your face. On the iPhone X, holding down on the buttons on either side of the device goes to the power down screen, which also disables Face ID. If someone demands your phone, squeeze the buttons to disable Face ID, Federighi suggests.
Face ID will also disable itself after five failed attempts at recognition. Earlier this week, Apple documentation suggested it would be disabled after two failed recognition attempts, but Federighi has clarified that it’s five, just like Touch ID. Apple’s documentation has now been updated accordingly. Also, when the iPhone reboots or Face ID hasn’t been used in 48 hours, a passcode will be required. Additionally, if you haven’t entered a passcode for 6.5 days and Face ID hasn’t been used in the last four hours, Face ID will also be disabled until a passcode is entered.
Federighi’s full interview, which includes more details on how Apple trained Face ID and how it works, can be read over at TechCrunch.
Face ID is easily the most hot-button topic to come out of Apple’s iPhone event this week, notch be damned. As people have parsed just how serious Apple is about it, questions have rightly begun to be raised about its effectiveness, security and creation. To get some answers, I hopped on the phone with Apple’s SVP of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi. Read More
While the iPhone X launches November 3, with pre-orders beginning October 27, reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes Apple’s high-end smartphone won’t achieve complete supply-demand equilibrium until next year.
In his latest research note with KGI Securities, obtained by MacRumors, Kuo said customer demand for the iPhone X won’t be fully met until at least the first half of 2018 due to supply constraints.
We believe the fullscreen design and facial recognition features will drive replacement demand for the iPhone X. However, due to supply constraints, we expect market demand won’t be fully met before 1H18. We revise down our forecast for 2017F iPhone X shipments from 45-50 million to around 40 million units, but we therefore revise up our 2018 iPhone X shipment estimate to 80-90 million units.
In fewer words, getting an iPhone X in your hands may prove especially challenging this holiday shopping season.
In addition to supply constraints, Kuo said the reason why iPhone X pre-orders won’t begin for another six weeks is likely because Apple doesn’t want to cannibalize sales of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.
Earlier this week, Kuo said Apple’s iPhone X production was less than 10,000 units per day, but the yield may be increasing as Apple ramps up mass production. He anticipated the iPhone X will remain in “severe short supply for a while.”
Kuo also anticipated that a gold iPhone X would encounter some production problems and initially be available only in “extremely low volume,” or launch at a later date, but Apple said the iPhone X comes only in Silver and Space Gray.
In today’s research note, he said the lack of a gold color echoes his production concerns, but he didn’t elaborate if he still thinks the iPhone X will eventually be released in gold like the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.
Shortly after Apple’s iPhone X event this week, the company’s silicon chief Johny Srouji and marketing chief Phil Schiller sat down for an interview about its new A11 Bionic chip with Mashable‘s editor-at-large Lance Ulanoff.
One interesting tidbit mentioned was that Apple began exploring and developing the core technologies in the A11 chip at least three years ago, when the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus launched with A8 chips.
Srouji told me that when Apple architects silicon, they start by looking three years out, which means the A11 Bionic was under development when Apple was shipping the iPhone 6 and its A8 chip. Back then we weren’t even talking about AI and machine learning at a mobile level and, yet, Srouji said, “The neural engine embed, it’s a bet we made three years ahead.”
Apple’s three-year roadmap can change if new features are planned, like the Super Retina HD Display in iPhone X.
“The process is flexible to changes,” said Srouji, who’s been with Apple since the first iPhone. If a team comes in with a request that wasn’t part of the original plan, “We need to make that happen. We don’t say, ‘No, let me get back to my road map and, five years later, I’ll give you something.”
Apple senior executives Phil Schiller, left, and Johny Srouji
In fact, Schiller praised Srouji’s team for its ability to “move heaven and earth” when the roadmap suddenly changes.
“There have been some critical things in the past few years, where we’ve asked Johny’s team to do something on a different schedule, on a different plan than they had in place for years, and they moved heaven and earth and done it, and it’s remarkable to see.”
A11 Bionic six-core chip has two performance cores that are 25 percent faster, and four high-efficiency cores that are 70 percent faster, than the A10 chip in iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Early benchmarks suggest the A11 Bionic is even on par with the performance of Apple’s latest 13-inch MacBook Pro models.
The A11 chip is more efficient at multi-threaded tasks thanks to a second-generation performance controller that is able to access all six of the cores simultaneously if a particular task demands it.
Gaming might use more cores, said Srouji, but something as simple as predictive texting, where the system suggests the next word to type, can tap into the high-performance CPUs, as well.
The A11 chip also has an Apple-designed neural engine that handles facial recognition for Face ID and Animoji, and other machine learning algorithms. The dual-core engine recognizes people, places, and objects, and processes machine learning tasks at up to 600 billion operations per second, according to Apple.
“When you look at applications and software, there are certain algorithms that are better off using a functional programming model,” said Srouji.
This includes the iPhone X’s new face tracking and Face ID as well as the augmented-reality-related object detection. All of them use neural networks, machine learning or deep learning (which is part of machine learning). This kind of neural processing could run on a CPU or, preferably, a GPU. “But for these neural networking kinds of programming models, implementing custom silicon that’s targeted for that application, that will perform the exact same tasks, is much more energy efficient than a graphics engine,” said Srouji.
Apple’s new iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X are all equipped with an A11 chip.
In related news, Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science has announced that Srouji will take part in a distinguished industry lecture on Monday, September 18 from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. local time.
Given the iPhone X‘s design was leaked months before it was unveiled, many people wondered how Apple would choose to approach the notch housing the device’s new TrueDepth front camera and facial recognition system.
Now that the iPhone X is official, we know the answer. Apple’s new human interface guidelines for the device advise developers to embrace the notch by ensuring the layout of their apps fill the entire screen.
Don’t mask or call special attention to key display features. Don’t attempt to hide the device’s rounded corners, sensor housing, or indicator for accessing the Home screen by placing black bars at the top and bottom of the screen. Don’t use visual adornments like brackets, bezels, shapes, or instructional text to call special attention to these areas either.
Yes, you should be able to charge your new iPhone X or iPhone 8 at Starbucks. Apple announced earlier this week that its new iPhones will include support for wireless charging through the Qi standard. But as far as charging in Starbucks is concerned, there seemed to be a catch: Starbucks’ charging pads from Powermat support a different standard, PMA. This is a solvable problem, according… Read More
Apple on Tuesday announced the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X, all of which will launch with inductive wireless charging support on Qi-compatible accessories. Since Apple’s first-party “AirPower” mat won’t be available to buy until 2018, new iPhone owners will be left to sift through the current market of Qi-compatible wireless charging pads, which is pretty large.
For this reason, we’ve rounded up a few Qi accessories that are currently discounted and that should work with the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, most hitting below the $30 range. We’ve also included a few Qi charging pads that are confirmed iPhone 8/X compatible that accessory makers like Belkin and Mophie announced this week alongside Apple’s big unveiling of each smartphone. Since virtually any Qi-supported charging pad should work with the new iPhones, buying decisions will come down to personal preferences of design, size, and color.
Choetech’s T511 charging pad comes in blue and black, and includes a battery light indicator on the front side of the device to confirm that the inductive wireless charging connection has been made with the smartphone. The small pad measures at 3.6 inches on all sides, and is one of the most popular and inexpensive Qi pads currently on Amazon. The downside is that it doesn’t come with a micro-USB cable, which you’ll need to connect the pad to a wall outlet or USB port, priced at about $5-$10 on Amazon.
Aukey’s wireless charger is slightly smaller than Choetech’s with a 3.4-inch diameter across its circular footprint. It has a flashing LED to indicate when the smartphone sitting atop it is charging, and the USB power cable is included.
Anker’s fast charging pad delivers 10 watts of power to smartphones, but will likely function like other 7.5W mats when used with the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, since those devices are believed to reach only half (7.5W) of current Qi standards (15W). Anker’s solution has non-disruptive LEDs surrounding the pad to indicate the smartphone’s charge, a non-slip pad, and measures 3.4 inches on all sides.
Samsung even has a few Qi-compatible charing accessory options that should work with iPhone 8 and iPhone X, including a Fast Wireless Charging Pad (again note such fast charging features will be incompatible with iPhone devices). This one is available in black sapphire and white, includes an LED indicator halo, and is slightly more elevated in comparison to other Qi mats. You can find the same Samsung accessory for nearly 50 percent off from select Walmart resellers, as well.
Incipio has quite a few Qi chargers, two of which it lists as iPhone-compatible options: the Ghost Qi 3-Coil base and Ghost Qi 15W base. Both are priced at $59.99, with the standout differences related to the design and shape of each base. The 3-Coil is a rectangle measuring 5.37 inches by 2.73 inches, while the 15W is a simple 3.5-inch square. Both come in black, have the usual LED indicator lights, and provide audio cues when the charging begins and ends.
Opening for orders this Friday, September 15, Belkin’s BOOST UP Wireless Charging Pad has been specifically designed for the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X. Belkin said it worked closely with Apple when designing and optimizing the pad, and it’ll provide charge to the iPhone through “most lightweight cases” up to 3mm thick. The 7.5W pad has a battery indicator LED, non-slip surface, and AC adapter included. Belkin’s accessory will be sold on Apple.com and in Apple stores as well.
Mophie was directly mentioned during Apple’s keynote as an accessory maker coming out with support for the iPhone 8 and X’s wireless charging features, with a device called the Mophie Wireless Charging Base. A pre-order date has not yet been confirmed, but we do know Mophie’s solution provides the expected 7.5W of power to an iPhone when placed on its small, circular, and rubberized base. It’ll also be available from Apple.
If you want to buy a Mophie Qi charging pad right now, the company’s Charge Force Wireless Charging Base is a universal Qi solution with noted support for the upcoming iPhones, priced at $39.95 from B&H Photo.
Griffin’s upcoming PowerBlock Wireless Qi Charging Pad provides 15W of power to compatible Qi devices when placed on its synthetic wool surface. Griffin notes compatibility with all of the new iPhones, but no release date has been confirmed.
RavPower has revealed a new Qi charging pad, confirming compatibility with Apple devices and coming sometime this fall. RavPower’s base is a bit unique in comparison with other companies since it can both sit flat on a surface, or act as a sort of iPhone dock with an angled stand. The accessory maker said the product will be available in either a standalone charging pad or pad + stand bundle.
Public Qi Chargers
There will be multiple options for wirelessly charging your iPhone when you’re out and about in public spaces, thanks to the confirmation of Apple support from a few inductive wireless charging companies. One is Aircharge, which confirmed that iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X owners will be able to use the company’s own app to locate nearby public Aircharge locations, which amount to 5,000 around the world. These are in restaurants, cafes, shops, hotels, airports, and train stations.
“We’re a long time partner of Apple via its MFi program and we’re excited Qi wireless charging is now a standard feature in the new iPhone models. The inclusion of wireless charging from a major mobile phone and tech manufacturer like Apple will accelerate and drive widespread consumer awareness and mainstream adoption”, said Steven Liquorish, founder and CEO of Aircharge.
Powermat made a similar announcement this week, confirming that owners of the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X will be able to charge their smartphones on Powermats “around the world.” Powermat locations support the Qi standard, and the company has a supported app so users can discover where the closest pad is to their location, including places like Starbucks and Samsung stores.
Of course, Apple’s own first-party solution for your home will arrive sometime next year. Apple’s mat, unlike the ones mentioned above, will be able to support as many as three Qi devices, and Apple has shown an iPhone, Apple Watch Series 3, and AirPods all charging at once on AirPower. When one device is placed next to the iPhone X (or 8/8 Plus), they alert the iPhone, which displays a notification message on the lock screen confirming the presence of the Apple Watch/AirPods along with the battery level.
Although unconfirmed by Apple, Macworld has reported that all previous generations of the Apple Watch will work on AirPower, including Series 2 and Series 0 devices.
For more information on prices for current and upcoming Qi inductive wireless chargers — which includes bedside tables and lamps from IKEA — check out the MacRumors Deals Roundup.
Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of the these vendors.