Apple has finally announced its highly anticipated premium smartphone, the iPhone X, but its unveiling did not go exactly as planned.
Something apparently went wrong when the iPhone X's facial recognition feature was being demonstrated during the Sept. 12 event. Did the feature embarrassingly fail, or is there another explanation?
iPhone X Face ID Fail: What Happened?
During the iPhone X announcement, the smartphone was revealed to have an all-new design with no home button, powered by the A11 Bionic chip, and with support for wireless charging, among many other features.
However, the demonstration of its facial recognition feature, named Face ID, went awry. Apple senior VP of software engineering Craig Federighi was tasked with showing it off, but his initial attempt to unlock the iPhone X using Face ID was unsuccessful. Instead of unlocking the smartphone after having the iPhone X scan his face, the passcode screen popped up.
Rattled, Federighi pressed the Sleep button to try unlocking the iPhone X with Face ID again, but the passcode screen still popped up. He then picked up a back-up demo device, and using it, Face ID finally worked, and he was able to continue with the presentation.
After the gaffe, media reports claimed that Face ID failed. The incident was painted as an embarrassing way to introduce what was previously described as amazing facial recognition technology.
iPhone X Face ID: Did It Really Fail?
The simplest explanation of what happened onstage during Federighi's demonstration was that the Face ID feature did not recognize the Apple executive's face. However, other theories claim that Face ID worked perfectly fine, and that the incident was caused by other factors.
One of the prevailing explanations on why Federighi was not able to unlock the first iPhone X through Face ID is based on the nature of the passcode screen that appeared during his two attempts. The screen looks familiar to iPhone 7 owners because it pops up whenever the device is restarted or when it has not been used for several hours. It is possible that, for some reason, the iPhone X was restarted before the demonstration started, or that it had been unused for hours, which is possible because reports claim that preparations for the event started the night before.
There was also the possibility that someone other than Federighi tried scanning his or her face on the iPhone X and failed, causing the passcode screen to pop up.
Whatever the true story may be, we will know for sure how reliable Face ID is once the iPhone X ships on Nov. 3