In September, Apple – the company worth more than Poland’s GDP in 2011, presented new models of iPhone. On the occasion of ten years since Steve Jobs introduced the first iPhone, there was presented iPhone X. A device doesn’t seemingly stand out from the competition. Inductive charging, narrow screen frame, dual camera, face recognition, you could find those things on the market in a better or worse version. Recently, Apple has been less and less surprised with the innovation of its solutions, and smartphones with face recognition abilities could have been encountered before – e.g. Samsung S8.
What’s interesting about the iPhone X?
It is Face ID. Under this name there is completely new technology that uses 3D face mapping. This technology is supported by the most modern A11 Bionic processor, part of which is the “neural engine” responsible for supporting neural networks.To analyze user’s face, Apple uses a front camera and an infrared module that displays 30,000 points.
They are supposed to reproduce the face as faithfully as possible, so that the created 3D model can be compared with the data encrypted in the device. Due to the availability of high computing power, the data don’t have to be sent to the servers in order to verify the correctness. This process significantly increases the security. Some may think: – “Touch ID works, why do I need a face scan?” Touch ID can be unreliable, even wet hands can prevent proper reading of fingerprint. It is different in the case of Face ID, thanks to neural networks, the new iPhone ”is learning” to recognize our face better and better every time. A user with facial hair, hiding behind glasses or wearing a headgear is not a challenge for it. In addition, Face ID is nearly 20 times safer than the Touch ID, and it is also a lot faster. Unlocking the device can be unnoticeable and along with time and software improvements will be even faster.
It is such a secure solution, therefore some banks have decided to add Face ID (as one of the possibilities to log in to the bank’s mobile application) to Touch ID and traditional PIN code. It’s a matter of time to see use of such solutions in everyday payments, and Apple offers such an opportunity at Apple Pay today.
Using the features created by Apple (iOS, macOS) we are able to log in using face to websites, authorizing access to our iCloud Keychain. Potential users who fear of their faces being scanned against their will may be calm. Face ID requires the user’s “attention” to unlock the device. It means that when the owner doesn’t look at the phone, it won’t be unlocked. This is a very interesting feature that can be used not only to ensure safety.
The possibilities of tracking user’s attention could be used for UX /UI analysis. In this way the users could, e.g. scroll the content on the screen. It would be possible to assess the attractiveness of the content for the user or by scanning the face assess his physical and mental health. However, at this moment access to the “user’s attention” data is secured and used exclusively by Apple. Next example of how to use „attention” is displaying the content of notifications on the starting screen, only when the user looks at the device (so we don’t have to worry about violating our privacy).
The possibilities that Face ID technology gives developers and users as well as the way it will be used is limited only by the imagination. Apple along with the new iOS 11 system has made available the ARkit library, which allows easily use of the features offered by 3D face scans (e.g. Animojis), as well as built-in cameras.
Face ID is a new way of interacting with our devices, which can just become a part of our everyday life. Now, it is used in smartphones, but perhaps in the future it may be the way we will open our cars, authorize payments in the store or withdraw money from an ATM.
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