Apple launches iPhone X with facial recognition

All the hype and lowdown on Apple’s iPhone X

Apple has finally launched its much-awaited iPhone X. The function on September 12 at Apple’s newly unveiled Steve Jobs Theater was a memorable event. It was made even more memorable when by a quirk of fate the much-trumpeted facial recognition technology caused a few minutes of sweat for Apple technicians by refusing to work. Of course, the backup device worked saving Apple CEO Tim Cook further embarrassment. Here is a video showing the launch.

There is a feeling that at the starting price of $999 in the United States, the device is indeed expensive.

In iPhone X, ‘Face ID’ replaces the ‘Touch ID’ fingerprint authentication system. However, there is no claim even from iPhone fans that this new system is indeed better.

The fingerprints and face are ‘biometric’ systems because they are measurable stable biological characteristics. Biometric security is obvious valuable in preventing theft of expensive devices because unless a device can be used nobody would want to steal it. With biometric system only the owner can operate it or the thief will have to abduct the owner too for the device to be of any use. That is a pretty nasty disincentive.

There is no doubt that users desire secure authentication on a phone because not only is the device valuable, but also the data that you have in them are valuable. A smartphone is the key to virtually the whole gamut of day-to-day activity.

Forbes magazine quotes Professor Anil Jain of Michigan State University as saying people prefer biometric system to other type of security because of its sheer simplicity. “There’s no need for a passcode, you just put your finger or face in front of the mobile phone and it will unlock it.”

How did Apple test the robustness of its Face ID? Schiller says Apple’s engineering team “worked hard to make sure Face ID can’t easily be spoofed by things like photographs”, testing the system with realistic models created by professional mask-makers and make-up artists in Hollywood.

But Apple has now switched to Face ID because, as it says on its website, it wants to create a device that is “entirely screen”. This means a device that has an edge-to-edge display, leaving no space for a fingerprint sensor.

Apple’s marketing head Phil Schiller assures users of the security of the face data, saying: “Your face data’s protected with a secure enclave… the processing is done on iPhone X and not sent to a server.” This is considered more secure because there is no data transfer nor storage in a central server that is susceptible to hacking.

How did Apple test the robustness of its Face ID? Schiller says Apple’s engineering team “worked hard to make sure Face ID can’t easily be spoofed by things like photographs”, testing the system with realistic models created by professional mask-makers and make-up artists in Hollywood.

Schiller claims Face ID reduces to a fifth the chances of a random breach through identical features when compared to fingerprint or Touch ID. “The chance that a random person could use their fingerprint to unlock your iPhone is about 1 in 50,000,” Schiller said. “What are the similar statistics for Face ID? One in a million. The chance that a random person in the population could look at your iPhone X and unlock it with their face is about one in a million.”

But some experts still believe that a PIN code or password is still more secure than Face ID. This contradicts Apple’s claim that ‘Your face is a secure password’.

Anyways, let those who are already hooked on to iPhone X enjoy the fun as long as it lasts.

 

 

About kerala.buzz (14 Articles)
A blogzine on Kerala, a picturesque state at southern end of India with a unique sociopolitical profile.
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