#Fail: Apple Might Have Dumbed Down Face ID To Ship More iPhone X Models [UPDATED]

If this report in Bloomberg is true, this will cement my decision to skip the iPhone X and wait for the next model. Apparently Apple might have given the green light to reduce the accuracy of their FaceID authentication system to allow them to ship more iPhone X units:

As of early fall, it was clearer than ever that production problems meant Apple Inc. wouldn’t have enough iPhone Xs in time for the holidays. The challenge was how to make the sophisticated phone—with advanced features such as facial recognition—in large enough numbers.

As Wall Street analysts and fan blogs watched for signs that the company would stumble, Apple came up with a solution: It quietly told suppliers they could reduce the accuracy of the face-recognition technology to make it easier to manufacture, according to people familiar with the situation. 

That doesn’t inspire confidence. But it reinforces a belief about Apple products that I have and I am not shy about sharing. Never, ever buy version 1.0 of any Apple product. It will have issues that will get worked out in the next version. Though this case is a bit different. Instead of being a beta tester for cutting edge tech that still has some kinks to work out, you’d be someone who was on the receiving end of a business decision to dumb some cutting edge tech down in the interests of shipping a few more iPhones. Not cool Apple. Not cool. Of course, all of this assumes that the Bloomberg report is accurate. Assuming it is, I have to wonder what the fine folks at Apple Park have to say about it.

Wake me up in fall 2018 when the next version of the iPhone with Face ID pops up. Until then, I’m going to pass on the iPhone X.

UPDATE: Apple has put out a statement to TechCrunch saying that this report is “completely false”:

Customer excitement for iPhone X and Face ID has been incredible, and we can’t wait for customers to get their hands on it starting Friday, November 3. Face ID is a powerful and secure authentication system that’s incredibly easy and intuitive to use. The quality and accuracy of Face ID haven’t changed. It continues to be 1 in a million probability of a random person unlocking your iPhone with Face ID.

Bloomberg’s claim that Apple has reduced the accuracy spec for Face ID is completely false and we expect Face ID to be the new gold standard for facial authentication.

This is clearly a touchy point for Apple. And you can understand why. But at the same time, Bloomberg would not have posted this story without having their ducks in a row. Thus you have to wonder if the truth lies somewhere in between the Apple statement and the Bloomberg story.

Oh, it still doesn’t change the fact that I won’t be getting an iPhone X as the best case scenario here is that I am a beta tester for a technology that has kinks to work out.



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