Steve Jobs famously once said “a lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them,” and yesterday at the launch of the new iPhone the company he co founded showed his influence still lives on.
Apple hope their new iPhoneX, iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, will reinvigorate sales of its smartphones which have dipped in the last year.
The new handset features a new 5.8 inch Super Retina display with HDR which covers almost the entire front of the phone.
The big new feature though is a security measure which is more high-tech than anything Apples rivals can offer at the moment but is one which may divide opinion among the tech companies legion of fans.
With Face ID, owners of the new iPhone X will be able to unlock their phone, pay for products and use mobile apps just by glancing at their device.
FaceID projects 30,000 infrared dots onto the user’s face and uses a new neural engine, depth sensing technology and machine learning to determine if they are authorised to unlock.
Apple says there is a one in a million chance of a person being able to unlock someone else’s iPhone X using FaceID.
CEO Tim Cook called it the biggest leap forward since the original iPhone, and nothing less than “the future of the smartphone”.
Explaining the new feature yesterday at the launch in Apples new headquarters in Cupertino, Calif, Senior VP of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller said:
“Nothing has ever been simpler, more natural and effortless,”
“Face ID is the future of how we unlock our smartphones and protect our sensitive information.”
Schiller said Apple also worked hard to ensure the technology “can’t be easily spoofed.” Photographs won’t fool it, and Apple even worked with professional mask makers and makeup artists in Hollywood to protect against attempts to beat Face ID, he said.
Biometric technology, which includes face, fingerprint, iris and retina recognition identification systems, has been a hotbed of research this decade and with Apple’s backing, the field just got its most high-profile boost yet and could soon become the industry standard, even if many consumers aren’t quite comfortable with the concept.
Identical twins may trip up the system, but for them and anyone else averse to using their faces, the iPhone X can still be unlocked using an old-fashioned passcode.
Although Apple said Face ID will provide users with more security, the technology also raises unsettling questions about unauthorized uses, particularly by law enforcement.
That means the home button and fingerprint sensor on the device have disappeared, replaced instead by a new facial recognition system for unlocking the phone.
Because the home button is gone, a swipe up from the bottom of the screen takes the user to the home screen.
The iPhone X can be woken by a tap or by picking it up. Siri is activated using voice or by holding the power button.
It also has a new Animoji feature which enables emojis to be animated with the user’s voice and expressions.
Apple says the new device is also tuned for Augmented Reality applications with new hardware and software that enable AR technology to work.
The device also has new dual 12MP camera sensors, dual optical image stabilisation and a new portrait mode that allows the lighting of the subject to be artificially manipulated