Is it any wonder that people have a difficult time believing what they read or see or hear? The internet has become the misinformation superhighway and it has become increasingly difficult to cut through the the barrage of clutter to grab hold of real facts.
Every year in summer and fall we go through the same issues with Apple and new iPhones. Rumor mills work overtime and it takes a concerted effort to push aside the fakery and find the truth. The latest has Apple going public to squash a big time nasty rumor about iPhone X.
Fact. Fiction. Fun.
None other than Bloomberg Technology says Apple has a problem with manufacturing iPhone X components in sufficient volume, and to meet the shortfall, allowed suppliers to reduce the accuracy of iPhone’s new Face ID, particularly the dot projector system.
The dot projector is at the heart of Apple’s production problems. In September, the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple was having trouble producing the modules that combine to make the dot projector, causing shortages.
Remember, this is stated as fact but without attribution. As it does every year, Apple’s newest iPhones push the envelope and the company struggles to get quality components into each device to meet expected demand.
Move along. Nothing to see here. This is a common occurrence.
At one point only about 20 percent of the dot projectors the two companies produced were usable, according to a person familiar with the manufacturing process.
Now that’s attribution. Or, rather, attribution to unnamed sources, so it could just as easily be completely made up news, possibly from Samsung or other competitors to hurt Apple’s iPhone X launch. That happens.
So, what’s the big deal about this component issue?
To boost the number of usable dot projectors and accelerate production, Apple relaxed some of the specifications for Face ID, according to a different person with knowledge of the process. As a result, it took less time to test completed modules, one of the major sticking points, the person said.
I live and work in New York City. That’s the kind of phrase we get all the time in The New York Times, but you’ll see it elsewhere; Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, The Guardian, and almost any media of notoriety. It’s a common method to publish information without publishing the real source. The problem here is obvious. None of the information is based upon facts in evidence. Only Apple knows if such a problem and solution exists.
Customer excitement for iPhone X and Face ID has been incredible, and we can’t wait for customers to get their hands on it starting Friday, November 3. Face ID is a powerful and secure authentication system that’s incredibly easy and intuitive to use. The quality and accuracy of Face ID haven’t changed. It continues to be 1 in a million probability of a random person unlocking your iPhone with Face ID.
Bloomberg’s claim that Apple has reduced the accuracy spec for Face ID is completely false and we expect Face ID to be the new gold standard for facial authentication.
Burn much, Bloomberg?
Want a look at a little more ‘fake news’ but with pseudo-attribution? Jeff Dunn:
Face ID uses a flood illuminator, infrared camera, and dot projector to identify a user’s face. Getting the dot projector right is said to be the biggest challenge, as the components used to create it are exceedingly fragile and need to be implemented with pinpoint accuracy in order for the whole thing to function properly
The components “are exceedingly fragile.” Yet, Bloomberg’s writers and Are Technica’s writer don’t know that to be fact. It’s hearsay. Apple knows the facts. And what does it say about such fragility if the component is going into an iPhone? Can you name another technology gadget that gets abused as much?
Here’s what I think happened. This is not fake news. This is an opinion.
Apple wanted to build a new phone with a larger screen in a smaller device– smaller forehead, chin, and side bezels– but with Touch ID built in to the iPhone X’s screen. Obviously, that didn’t happen. Plan B was an improved iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, also likely manufactured to help Apple overcome the massive supply chain component issues it faces when trying to build over 200-million premium smartphones each year.
If Touch ID wasn’t ready for an OLED display in a micro-bezel design, what was? Face ID. But maybe not in the volumes Apple needs to meet customer demand. Regardless, we’re talking about hardware components. Apple does not dink around with hardware months before release. Hardware is locked down nearly a year before launch. Whether or not iPhone X has problems, will have problems, or will ship in limited supply for many months– and have a fragile Face ID component– remains to be seen. Apple’s engineers are working on 2018 iPhone models, not iPhone X from 2017.
What I would like to see in such stories is basic to journalism. Attribution. Names. What I expect from Apple is truth, fact, and a product that works as advertised. As to Apple’s response to Bloomberg’s obvious fiction was quick, straightforward, and with attribution. Apple is pushing the envelope with Face ID. It could be a big gamble on new technology. But it could revolutionize how we secure our devices and I have no trouble seeing it show up on future iPhones, iPads, and Macs.