Apple Unveils iPhone X, Boasts Face ID Technology

Christian Cutler September 13, 2017
Apple Unveils iPhone X, Boasts Face ID Technology

All heads turned as Apple Inc unveiled its newest high-end handset called iPhone X on Tuesday in an event held at the company's spaceship-themed Apple Park.

Along with other new products and new iPhones, iPhone X (pronounced “iPhone ten”) stole all the attention of the crowd and struck the audience with its nearly bezel-free screen. Phil Schiller took charge of the unveiling of the high-end phone, which Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook touted as “the biggest leap forward since the original iPhone.”

Although all eyes were on iPhone X, the announcement of its features shocked the audience less than expected since leaks about it had been circulating online prior to the event, which was a commemoration of the 10th year anniversary of the iPhone.

“If there hadn’t been all the leaks there would have been a lot of big surprises and people would have come away blown away. The leaks took the edge off the announcements, but we’ve still seen a very strong set of products that re-establish Apple’s lead in a lot of categories,” said Jan Dawson, an Apple analyst.

As mentioned above, the phone scores a screen that covers the phone from head to foot save for a small trapezoidal notch on top where selfie cameras and sensors are placed. Additionally, the home button is now non-existent, and this further differentiates iPhone from other previous and current iPhone models, which still have their home buttons. It uses a new screen technology called Super Retina Display that showcases 1125x2436 OLED (organic light-emitting diode), which enables it to show richer colors. It is the first time that Apple used the OLED tech in an iPhone. Additionally, Apple said its TrueTone technology helps the white-balancing capabilities of the phone.

The case is a combination of glass and stainless steel, similar to iPhone 4. It comes in space gray and silver, making the handset feel and look more futuristic than its predecessors.

Since Apple got rid of the phone’s home button, functions like calling Siri’s attention and accessing Apple Play have been moved to the power button, which Apple likes to call “side button” now. To call Siri's attention, the user has to long-press the side button, while double clicking it will give you Apple Play.

Apple said that the phone’s battery life is two hours longer than iPhone 7, adding that iPhone X supports wireless charging by laying the handset down on an inductive pad. Apple follows the Qi standard, and that means that it would work with current Qi pads made by other companies, although the Cupertino-based tech giant teased about its own charging accessory, which is called Airpower.

The phone has dual 12-megapixel cameras, along with a newer telephoto lens that lets in more light. Portrait mode, which allows users to take professional-looking photos by blurring the background, is also offered by both the front and rear cameras. On the other hand, unwanted blurring when moving or while in low light is prevented by the phone’s dual optical image stabilization for both lenses.

Similar to the other two iPhones released along with it, iPhone X runs on the A11 Bionic, which is Apple’s latest processor. It also goes with 3 gigs of RAM, which further boosts the phones processing power. With a larger screen and more features, including artificial intelligence and augmented reality, the phone needs all the horsepower it can possibly get.

The phone costs $999 and it is set for shipping on November 3.

Gold Standard for Consumer Protection

Arguably the most important feature of the new phone is its new security system, the Face ID. Replacing the Touch ID, the new Face ID system allows users to use their faces to unlock the phone, do banking transactions, and log in to apps or accounts.

With the use of a front infrared camera and other sensors, the user initially has to set up the system by showing his or her face and turning right and left so the phone can have a good look. It’s almost similar to the process of registering one’s thumb/finger print.

Once set up, the user has to glance at the phone in order to unlock it, and it will not turn off as long as it recognizes that the person is still using it.

Apple has touted the new facial recognition system by claiming that it is the “gold standard for consumer protection,” asserting that the chance of another person randomly unlocking the phone is 1 in a million.

According to Apple, the handset uses neural networks in the creation of a mathematical model of the owner’s face, and then it compares faces in real-time to check if it matches the face of the person using it. It also means that the sensors can recognize the person even when he or she changes hair, wears glasses, or grows beard. The phone won’t unlock if the user’s eyes are closed, or if he or she is looking away.

People from Hollywood reportedly challenged the Face ID system’s toughness by using photographs and professionally-made masks. The system reportedly stood up and passed the tests of spoofing attempts.

Moreover, the same processor allows the user to create 3D emojis mimicking the person’s facial reactions. Animoji, which is the feature’s name, can map more than 50 muscles on a person’s face, and can be sent inside a messaging app.

“Apple’s move into facial recognition is going to move public awareness of facial recognition forward a huge way,” said Brian Brackeen, a former Apple employee who now runs Kairos, a facial recognition company.

However, during the unveiling of iPhone X, Apple executive Craig Federighi went to demonstrate the capabilities of the Face ID technology but experienced an embarrassing glitch.

“Unlocking it is as easy as looking at it and swiping up,” he said, while waiting for a few seconds for the device to unlock, but the device did not unlock. After his second attempt, he switched to a back-up phone.

In spite of this glitch, the overall impact of iPhone X’s unveiling this year still put Apple in an “extraordinarily strong” position, according to observers.

During the event, two other iPhones have been revealed, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, along with the Series 3 Apple Watch, and the new and improved Apple TV.


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Christian Cutler

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