Apple 2017 year in review: iPhone X with Face ID signals major platform shift

Posted:
in iPhone
To mark the 10th anniversary of the iPhone, Apple released the iPhone X -- that's pronounced "ten," as the company is eager to point out. While it may not be an earth-shaking revelation, it's an important signpost for where Apple plans to be 10 years from now -- assuming we're even still using smartphones in 2027.




The most obvious change is the switch to an edge-to-edge, 5.8-inch OLED display, interrupted only by a sensor notch up top. This not only brings the iPhone up to par with rivals like the Essential Phone and Samsung Galaxy S8, but transforms it into a "window" for digital content like augmented reality.

In fact, AR is an underlying theme of the device, including ways that might not be immediately obvious. The rear cameras, for instance, use a new alignment, and are spaced further apart for better depth perception. Apple has also improved the accuracy of the accelerometer and gyroscope, and made graphics appear more natural through technologies like True Tone and HDR.

Combined with improvements in machine learning and object recognition, plus rumors of a rear-facing 3D sensors, it's not hard to imagine a future in which holding up an iPhone could tell you exactly which corridors to walk at an airport, or pop up a history guide at a major landmark. Come 2020 Apple could release a dedicated AR headset that will take the concept one step further, immersing you in data at all times without the need to have something in your hand.

In the meantime, another camera-related technology is likely to sweep Apple's product line: Face ID. The technology replaces Touch ID, and uses the phone's front-facing TrueDepth camera to project and analyze 30,000 invisible dots on a person's face.




There are some limitations -- such as a cap of one person per device, and the chance of it being spoofed by family or a carefully crafted mask -- but when it works, Face ID makes using an iPhone relatively seamless. It's even possible to hide notification details unless your eyes are on the screen, and the system adapts to aging, makeup, and many accessories.

Given that Apple is spending at least $390 million on related lasers, it's safe to say Face ID will become standard across iPhones, and likely iPads as well. Competitors are already working on their own equivalents.

Another thing TrueDepth enables is animation based on facial movements. Currently the main use of this is Apple's animoji, but we should see increasingly interesting applications, third-party data access limits notwithstanding.




If nothing else the iPhone X marks a shift in Apple's interface design. With no home button to fall back on, new iOS gestures are required to switch apps or jump to the homescreen, and the volume and sleep/wake buttons have been recruited for functions like Siri and Apple Pay. Smoothing out these interactions is presumably a goal for "iOS 12," and where possible, 2018 iPhones.




Apple's credo is that it wants to be the best, not necessarily first. The iPhone X is a prime example -- its features aren't necessarily revolutionary in and of themselves, but combined they set a new standard for smartphones, and establish the base of the Apple platform going forward.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 30
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 2,717member
    I like the first paragraph here because it makes something clear that people might overlook. It's an anniversary device and as such could take a lot of risks. If something 'just didn't work' it would not have been a major deal (in the bigger scheme of things) as the iPhone 8 was there to save the day.

    Depending on how those risks play out, Apple can adapt without altering the entire lineup in one foul swoop. 

    As the article also clearly states, it also traces a potential roadmap for a safe rollout of new (more proven) technology in new phones next year. I wonder though if the X will remain a type of showcase device for major technological trials in the real world (at an ultra premium price), or simply remain as an anniversary device leaving the current 'Plus' line to be used for new advances.
    edited December 2017 applesnorangesmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 2 of 30
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,392member
    IMHO Face ID is revolutionary, because it works, it's secure, it's (mostly) convenient, and it points to a wide range of future uses and improved convenience. All facial information and processing is on-device, it's adaptable to changing visages and lighting conditions, it facilitates one-handed operation, and it's secure enough to be sanctioned by the EMV consortium for credit card transactions.  Recently comes news of the impending use of facial recognition at airports at check-in and boarding--almost certainly promoted by the success of Face ID--but it's not performed on-device (potential privacy invasion) and need not be as adaptable to changing visages and lighting as Face ID must be.
    edited December 2017 mavemufcwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 30
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 2,717member
    cpsro said:
    IMHO Face ID is revolutionary, because it works, it's secure, it's (mostly) convenient, and it points to a wide range of future uses and improved convenience. All facial information and processing is on-device, it's adaptable to changing visages and lighting conditions, it facilitates one-handed operation, and it's secure enough to be sanctioned by the EMV consortium for credit card transactions.  Recently comes news of the impending use of facial recognition at airports at check-in and boarding--almost certainly promoted by the success of Face ID--but it's not performed on-device (potential privacy invasion) and need not be as adaptable to changing visages and lighting as Face ID must be.
    Aren't facial biometrics already in use at passport control at some airports?

    The last time I visited the UK (September 2016), I had to put my passport into a scanner and stare into a device before the gates would open.

    The Chinese have been using facial biometrics for tracking in all kinds of environments for a while now. Cultural differences seem to make privacy less of an issue there. For example, this is from February this year.

    https://www.technologyreview.com/s/603494/10-breakthrough-technologies-2017-paying-with-your-face/

    EDIT:

    Another link:

    https://www.ft.com/content/ae2ec0ac-4744-11e7-8519-9f94ee97d996

    For conspiracy theorists, Face++ technology is in many different places and it doesn't have only Chinese tentacles. The Russians are in there too if you follow the breadcrumbs.  :*
    edited December 2017
  • Reply 4 of 30
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,158member
    avon b7 said:
    I like the first paragraph here because it makes something clear that people might overlook. It's is an anniversary device and as such could take a lot of risks. If something 'just didn't work' it would not have been a major deal (in the bigger scheme of things) as the iPhone 8 was there to save the day.

    Depending on how those risks play out, Apple can adapt without altering the entire lineup in one foul swoop. 

    As the article also clearly states, it also traces a potential roadmap for a safe rollout of new (more proven) technology in new phones next year. I wonder though if the X will remain a type of showcase device for major technological trials in the real world (at an ultra premium price), or simply remain as an anniversary device leaving the current 'Plus' line to be used for new advances.
    The X is the lead device of future generations of iPhone; not a showcase, nor an anniversary device. The 8, 7, 6s, 6, and SE are legacy devices as of the X, as TouchID is legacy technology, and will fulfill the lower pricing tiers for the next two to three years with older models dropping out of the lineup. Apple will, over a few generations, migrate all iPhones to FaceID, OLED screens, and, nonmetallic cases, with the Plus series providing the bleeding edge features and the highest pricing tier.
    aegeanpatchythepiratecornchipStrangeDaysanalogjackwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 30
    cpsro said:
    IMHO Face ID is revolutionary, because it works, it's secure, it's (mostly) convenient, and it points to a wide range of future uses and improved convenience. All facial information and processing is on-device, it's adaptable to changing visages and lighting conditions, it facilitates one-handed operation, and it's secure enough to be sanctioned by the EMV consortium for credit card transactions.  Recently comes news of the impending use of facial recognition at airports at check-in and boarding--almost certainly promoted by the success of Face ID--but it's not performed on-device (potential privacy invasion) and need not be as adaptable to changing visages and lighting as Face ID must be.
    Definitely agree, was sceptical at first, as were most Apple fans I think, but been very impressed with it, not often I have an issue & using Apple Pay is much easier with Face ID.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 30
    Based on my calculations, Face ID is about 118 million times better than Touch ID. I felt like Vader saying, "Impressive! Moooost impressive," although Face ID is more impressive than watching Luke Force-jump a few feet.
    cornchip
  • Reply 7 of 30
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,218member
    avon b7 said:
    I like the first paragraph here because it makes something clear that people might overlook. It's is an anniversary device and as such could take a lot of risks. If something 'just didn't work' it would not have been a major deal (in the bigger scheme of things) as the iPhone 8 was there to save the day.

    Depending on how those risks play out, Apple can adapt without altering the entire lineup in one foul swoop. 

    As the article also clearly states, it also traces a potential roadmap for a safe rollout of new (more proven) technology in new phones next year. I wonder though if the X will remain a type of showcase device for major technological trials in the real world (at an ultra premium price), or simply remain as an anniversary device leaving the current 'Plus' line to be used for new advances.
    Because you dislike FaceID you’ve read far too much into the word anniversary. In reality, Apple has just spent the best part of $400million to make sure they can produce enough modules for the future line-up. TouchID is legacy I’m afraid. They’re all in. 
    edited December 2017 cornchipStrangeDayswatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 8 of 30
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,218member
    tmay said:
    avon b7 said:
    I like the first paragraph here because it makes something clear that people might overlook. It's is an anniversary device and as such could take a lot of risks. If something 'just didn't work' it would not have been a major deal (in the bigger scheme of things) as the iPhone 8 was there to save the day.

    Depending on how those risks play out, Apple can adapt without altering the entire lineup in one foul swoop. 

    As the article also clearly states, it also traces a potential roadmap for a safe rollout of new (more proven) technology in new phones next year. I wonder though if the X will remain a type of showcase device for major technological trials in the real world (at an ultra premium price), or simply remain as an anniversary device leaving the current 'Plus' line to be used for new advances.
    The X is the lead device of future generations of iPhone; not a showcase, nor an anniversary device. The 8, 7, 6s, 6, and SE are legacy devices as of the X, as TouchID is legacy technology, and will fulfill the lower pricing tiers for the next two to three years with older models dropping out of the lineup. Apple will, over a few generations, migrate all iPhones to FaceID, OLED screens, and, nonmetallic cases, with the Plus series providing the bleeding edge features and the highest pricing tier.
    Er … yeah, what he said. 
    StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 30
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 2,717member
    Rayz2016 said:
    avon b7 said:
    I like the first paragraph here because it makes something clear that people might overlook. It's is an anniversary device and as such could take a lot of risks. If something 'just didn't work' it would not have been a major deal (in the bigger scheme of things) as the iPhone 8 was there to save the day.

    Depending on how those risks play out, Apple can adapt without altering the entire lineup in one foul swoop. 

    As the article also clearly states, it also traces a potential roadmap for a safe rollout of new (more proven) technology in new phones next year. I wonder though if the X will remain a type of showcase device for major technological trials in the real world (at an ultra premium price), or simply remain as an anniversary device leaving the current 'Plus' line to be used for new advances.
    Because you dislike FaceID you’ve read far too much into the word anniversary. In reality, Apple has just spent the best part of $400million to make sure they can produce enough modules for the future line-up. TouchID is legacy I’m afraid. They’re all in. 
    Where did you get the idea that I dislike FaceID? I haven't used it and definitely haven't criticised it for what it is. At the most, I've said it is just another biometric (which it is), that this technology (recognition) is not new (which it isn't).

    I've also said on more than one occasion that, in the case of FaceID, the local NPU is a key element. Many, if not all, of the other tech components in it are widely available and already used for various applications but not together for unlocking a handset. Only one other manufacturer currently has a mobile NPU to complete the puzzle, though and are about to release their own implementation in a few weeks. The machine learning and AI are the real magic behind this and the fact that it is done locally.

    Right now, from what I know, I still prefer TouchID, but you haven't heard me slam FaceID or say I dislike it. Quite the opposite, in fact. In the few posts I've made in threads where people have waded in with criticism, I've held an open minded, wait and see, approach. I think the software behind it looks quite robust too. Perhaps early days but 'dislike'? Nope, at least not from me.


  • Reply 10 of 30

    Combined with improvements in machine learning and object recognition, plus rumors of a rear-facing 3D sensors, it's not hard to imagine a future in which holding up an iPhone could tell you exactly which corridors to walk at an airport, or pop up a history guide at a major landmark. 
    It may make more sense for Apple to introduce rear-facing 3D sensors in an iPad.  I suspect that an iPad with its larger display and battery, along with more storage, RAM, more powerful APU -- would be better able to perform SLAM on an industrial scale.

    https://venturebeat.com/2017/07/31/how-slam-technology-is-redrawing-augmented-realitys-battle-lines/
    edited December 2017
  • Reply 11 of 30
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 2,717member
    tmay said:
    avon b7 said:
    I like the first paragraph here because it makes something clear that people might overlook. It's is an anniversary device and as such could take a lot of risks. If something 'just didn't work' it would not have been a major deal (in the bigger scheme of things) as the iPhone 8 was there to save the day.

    Depending on how those risks play out, Apple can adapt without altering the entire lineup in one foul swoop. 

    As the article also clearly states, it also traces a potential roadmap for a safe rollout of new (more proven) technology in new phones next year. I wonder though if the X will remain a type of showcase device for major technological trials in the real world (at an ultra premium price), or simply remain as an anniversary device leaving the current 'Plus' line to be used for new advances.
    The X is the lead device of future generations of iPhone; not a showcase, nor an anniversary device. The 8, 7, 6s, 6, and SE are legacy devices as of the X, as TouchID is legacy technology, and will fulfill the lower pricing tiers for the next two to three years with older models dropping out of the lineup. Apple will, over a few generations, migrate all iPhones to FaceID, OLED screens, and, nonmetallic cases, with the Plus series providing the bleeding edge features and the highest pricing tier.
    People tend to band the word 'legacy' around very easily nowadays. TouchID may be on its way out (or not!) but you will be able to buy brand new iPhones with it for a few years yet and Apple will definitely not be referring to it as 'legacy'. 

    Personally, I think Apple plans to phase it out but the transition will clearly be gradual. We just don't know how things will play out yet. It is still early days and for some people in some situations FaceID might be less attractive. Enough to justify requiring them to use passcodes instead? Or would including both TouchID (even if it was rear mounted) AND FaceID on the same device be feasible?

    You seem surefire on the X not being a one-off. That may be true but I think right now it stands as an anniversary phone and showcases where things could be heading.

    Whether Apple will repeat this strategy with a 9, 9 Plus and an X.2 next year, I think is a mystery right now. Speculation is fine but I wouldn't go out on a limb for any option at present.

    As is the idea that Apple may move into a quicker two-step release cycle with the intent of keeping interest high. For example, yearly SE updates in spring. 


  • Reply 12 of 30
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,158member
    avon b7 said:
    tmay said:
    avon b7 said:
    I like the first paragraph here because it makes something clear that people might overlook. It's is an anniversary device and as such could take a lot of risks. If something 'just didn't work' it would not have been a major deal (in the bigger scheme of things) as the iPhone 8 was there to save the day.

    Depending on how those risks play out, Apple can adapt without altering the entire lineup in one foul swoop. 

    As the article also clearly states, it also traces a potential roadmap for a safe rollout of new (more proven) technology in new phones next year. I wonder though if the X will remain a type of showcase device for major technological trials in the real world (at an ultra premium price), or simply remain as an anniversary device leaving the current 'Plus' line to be used for new advances.
    The X is the lead device of future generations of iPhone; not a showcase, nor an anniversary device. The 8, 7, 6s, 6, and SE are legacy devices as of the X, as TouchID is legacy technology, and will fulfill the lower pricing tiers for the next two to three years with older models dropping out of the lineup. Apple will, over a few generations, migrate all iPhones to FaceID, OLED screens, and, nonmetallic cases, with the Plus series providing the bleeding edge features and the highest pricing tier.
    People tend to band the word 'legacy' around very easily nowadays. TouchID may be on its way out (or not!) but you will be able to buy brand new iPhones with it for a few years yet and Apple will definitely not be referring to it as 'legacy'. 

    Personally, I think Apple plans to phase it out but the transition will clearly be gradual. We just don't know how things will play out yet. It is still early days and for some people in some situations FaceID might be less attractive. Enough to justify requiring them to use passcodes instead? Or would including both TouchID (even if it was rear mounted) AND FaceID on the same device be feasible?

    You seem surefire on the X not being a one-off. That may be true but I think right now it stands as an anniversary phone and showcases where things could be heading.

    Whether Apple will repeat this strategy with a 9, 9 Plus and an X.2 next year, I think is a mystery right now. Speculation is fine but I wouldn't go out on a limb for any option at present.

    As is the idea that Apple may move into a quicker two-step release cycle with the intent of keeping interest high. For example, yearly SE updates in spring. 


    There's a story up now at MacRumors to the effect that all new models will have FaceID including iPad Pro. It's so obvious to anyone who actually follows Apple that I give it a 100% chance of happening.

    As for "Legacy", that's exactly what any TouchID device is after the launch of the X and removal of the Home button.
    Rayz2016
  • Reply 13 of 30
    tmay said:
    avon b7 said:
    I like the first paragraph here because it makes something clear that people might overlook. It's is an anniversary device and as such could take a lot of risks. If something 'just didn't work' it would not have been a major deal (in the bigger scheme of things) as the iPhone 8 was there to save the day.

    Depending on how those risks play out, Apple can adapt without altering the entire lineup in one foul swoop. 

    As the article also clearly states, it also traces a potential roadmap for a safe rollout of new (more proven) technology in new phones next year. I wonder though if the X will remain a type of showcase device for major technological trials in the real world (at an ultra premium price), or simply remain as an anniversary device leaving the current 'Plus' line to be used for new advances.
    The X is the lead device of future generations of iPhone; not a showcase, nor an anniversary device. The 8, 7, 6s, 6, and SE are legacy devices as of the X, as TouchID is legacy technology, and will fulfill the lower pricing tiers for the next two to three years with older models dropping out of the lineup. Apple will, over a few generations, migrate all iPhones to FaceID, OLED screens, and, nonmetallic cases, with the Plus series providing the bleeding edge features and the highest pricing tier.
    Totally agree!  Well, except the last sentence (the Plus is about size not features and is no more bleeding edge than the equivalent non-plus version).

    But that aside,  YES, it is clearly the future and 6, 6S, 7 and 8 are fast becoming as legacy as the SE.  Aside from the technical aspects that you mention, there is another serious clue:  The name:   They named it the X (ten), and that leaves one more version of the legacy design for next year (the iPhone 9) before the product line goes full blown into the design of the X in the iPhone 11, 12, etc....
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 30
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,392member
    avon b7 said:
    Aren't facial biometrics already in use at passport control at some airports?

    The last time I visited the UK (September 2016), I had to put my passport into a scanner and stare into a device before the gates would open.

    The Chinese have been using facial biometrics for tracking in all kinds of environments for a while now. Cultural differences seem to make privacy less of an issue there. For example, this is from February this year.

    https://www.technologyreview.com/s/603494/10-breakthrough-technologies-2017-paying-with-your-face/

    EDIT:

    Another link:

    https://www.ft.com/content/ae2ec0ac-4744-11e7-8519-9f94ee97d996

    For conspiracy theorists, Face++ technology is in many different places and it doesn't have only Chinese tentacles. The Russians are in there too if you follow the breadcrumbs.  :*
    There's biometrics and there's biometrics. It's not clear those older immigration systems do 3-d mapping; they're also not self-contained, the accuracy is questionable (esp. compared to Face ID), they don't fit in one's pocket, and their functionality is limited.
    The Chinese system seems certainly a privacy invasion.
    edited December 2017 watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 30
    I am currently using a i phone X and before that i phone 6. But in this i phone X SCREEN STAYS UNRESPONSIVELY FOR INCOMING CALLS FOR MORE THAN 10 seconds.  it doesn’t change though i update the phone. Worst phone i ever had in my life. 
    edited December 2017
  • Reply 16 of 30
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 2,717member
    cpsro said:
    avon b7 said:
    Aren't facial biometrics already in use at passport control at some airports?

    The last time I visited the UK (September 2016), I had to put my passport into a scanner and stare into a device before the gates would open.

    The Chinese have been using facial biometrics for tracking in all kinds of environments for a while now. Cultural differences seem to make privacy less of an issue there. For example, this is from February this year.

    https://www.technologyreview.com/s/603494/10-breakthrough-technologies-2017-paying-with-your-face/

    EDIT:

    Another link:

    https://www.ft.com/content/ae2ec0ac-4744-11e7-8519-9f94ee97d996

    For conspiracy theorists, Face++ technology is in many different places and it doesn't have only Chinese tentacles. The Russians are in there too if you follow the breadcrumbs.  :*
    There's biometrics and there's biometrics. It's not clear those older immigration systems do 3-d mapping; they're also not self-contained, the accuracy is questionable (esp. compared to Face ID), they don't fit in one's pocket, and their functionality is limited.
    The Chinese system seems certainly a privacy invasion.

    "Recently comes news of the impending use of facial recognition at airports at check-in and boarding--almost certainly promoted by the success of Face ID--but it's not performed on-device (potential privacy invasion)".


    Ok. I was replying to what you said which centred on facial recognition at airports as a technology, not the implementation. 

    The type of implementation Apple is using is not suited to current airport systems because it only works over short distances. Lighting isn't an issue as in airports and fixed place recognition instances, lighting can be provided as per requirements.

    All of that can be modified though because they don't have the restrictions of a handheld device itself.

    The current airport implementation is a dual system of course (passport + face biometrics) which I don't see going away any time soon because of the current limitations with regards to twins, family members etc.
  • Reply 17 of 30
    I am currently using a i phone X and before that i phone 6. But in this i phone X SCREEN STAYS UNRESPONSIVELY FOR INCOMING CALLS FOR MORE THAN 10 seconds.  it doesn’t change though i update the phone. Worst phone i ever had in my life. 
    What help did Apple give when you called?  Any suggestions/work around?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 30
    avon b7 said:
    I like the first paragraph here because it makes something clear that people might overlook. It's an anniversary device and as such could take a lot of risks. If something 'just didn't work' it would not have been a major deal (in the bigger scheme of things) as the iPhone 8 was there to save the day.
    No, I don't think so. They said they were going to put some of this stuff (Face ID) into the next phone, but it was ready now. They didn't design it as an "anniversary edition" phone, they just added the X marketing moniker to the hardware that was ready. This stuff is here to stay, without a doubt.
    edited December 2017 watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 30
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 2,717member
    avon b7 said:
    I like the first paragraph here because it makes something clear that people might overlook. It's an anniversary device and as such could take a lot of risks. If something 'just didn't work' it would not have been a major deal (in the bigger scheme of things) as the iPhone 8 was there to save the day.
    No, I don't think so. They said they were going to put some of this stuff (Face ID) into the next phone, but it was ready now. They didn't design it as an "anniversary edition" phone, they just added the X marketing moniker to the hardware that was ready. This stuff is here to stay, without a doubt.
    You have a point there. Apple supposedly admitted that the X wasn't planned for this year. In that scenario, it couldn't be an anniversary phone. However, with them bringing it forward, maybe it became the perfect candidate to be an anniversary phone which was reinforced by the 'X' naming for the tenth anniversary of the iPhone.


  • Reply 20 of 30
    avon b7 said:
    cpsro said:
    IMHO Face ID is revolutionary, because it works, it's secure, it's (mostly) convenient, and it points to a wide range of future uses and improved convenience. All facial information and processing is on-device, it's adaptable to changing visages and lighting conditions, it facilitates one-handed operation, and it's secure enough to be sanctioned by the EMV consortium for credit card transactions.  Recently comes news of the impending use of facial recognition at airports at check-in and boarding--almost certainly promoted by the success of Face ID--but it's not performed on-device (potential privacy invasion) and need not be as adaptable to changing visages and lighting as Face ID must be.
    Aren't facial biometrics already in use at passport control at some airports?

    The last time I visited the UK (September 2016), I had to put my passport into a scanner and stare into a device before the gates would open.

    The Chinese have been using facial biometrics for tracking in all kinds of environments for a while now. Cultural differences seem to make privacy less of an issue there. For example, this is from February this year.

    https://www.technologyreview.com/s/603494/10-breakthrough-technologies-2017-paying-with-your-face/

    EDIT:

    Another link:

    https://www.ft.com/content/ae2ec0ac-4744-11e7-8519-9f94ee97d996

    For conspiracy theorists, Face++ technology is in many different places and it doesn't have only Chinese tentacles. The Russians are in there too if you follow the breadcrumbs.  :*
    Yes, but I don't think they're 3D facial scans like FaceID. Not sure about the UK since I've never had to do anything like that entering the country. I flew into Heathrow this past August and they just scanned my passport. When I was in Africa over the summer, they had facial biometrics at OR Tambo in Joburg. 
    watto_cobra
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