In a detailed technical paper, a team at Apple named the Computer Vision Machine Learning Team provide depth on its approach for Face ID. The paper provides insights on how Apple is leveraging machine learning in a manner that is contained on devices and not leveraging cloud computing.
Apple's iCloud Photo Library is a cloud-based solution for photo and video storage. However, due to Apple's strong commitment to user privacy, we couldn't use iCloud servers for computer vision computations. Every photo and video sent to iCloud Photo Library is encrypted on the device before it is sent to cloud storage, and can only be decrypted by devices that are registered with the iCloud account. Therefore, to bring deep learning based computer vision solutions to our customers, we had to address directly the challenges of getting deep learning algorithms running on iPhone.
Ive discusses iPhone X innovations with TIME.
TIME named the iPhone X one of this year's top 25 innovations and has an interview with Apple's Jonathan Ive. The interview offers some insights into Apple design decisions that go into new products.
How does Apple decide when it's time to move on? It's not a decision to get rid of an existing technology as much as it's a willingness to accept that what's familiar isn't always what's best. "I actually think the path of holding onto features that have been effective, the path of holding onto those whatever the cost, is a path that leads to failure," says Ive. "And in the short term, it's the path the feels less risky and it's the path that feels more secure."
The last iPhone dropped the ubiquitous headphone jack, while the iPhone X eliminates the home button.
Google Maps getting makeover
First, we've updated the driving, navigation, transit and explore maps to better highlight the information most relevant to each experience (think gas stations for navigation, train stations for transit, and so on). We've also updated our color scheme and added new icons to help you quickly identify exactly what kind of point of interest you're looking at. Places like a cafe, church, museum or hospital will have a designated color and icon, so that it's easy to find that type of destination on the map. For example, if you're in a new neighborhood and searching for a coffee shop, you could open the map to find the nearest orange icon (which is the color for Food & Drink spots).
Overtime, the changes will be seen in all Google Maps products. This includes the website, apps, and services using Google Maps. Once deployed, this should bring a consistent user experience.
AppleCare or No AppleCare for iPhone X
9 to 5 Mac has a breakdown of whether AppleCare is worth it when buying an iPhone X.
AppleCare+ and non-AppleCare+ total cost comparisons specifically for iPhone X repairs in the US which covers up to two accidental damage repairs in two years versus zero without. Apple charges $29 for screen repairs in warranty, $99 for non-screen repairs in warranty, $279 for screen repairs out of warranty, and $549 for non-screen repairs out of warranty.
• $0: No AppleCare+ with no repairs
• $199: AppleCare+ with no accidental damage claims
• $228: AppleCare+ and one screen repair
• $257: AppleCare+ and two screen repair
• $279: No AppleCare+ and one screen repair
• $298: AppleCare+ and one non-screen repair
• $327: AppleCare+, one screen repair, and one non-screen repair
• $397: AppleCare+ and two non-screen repairs
• $549: No AppleCare+ and one non-screen repair
• $558: No AppleCare+ and two screen repairs
• $828: No AppleCare+, one screen repair, and one non-screen repair
• $1098: No AppleCare+ and two non-screen repairs
Essentially, if you break your screen, the difference between buying Apple Care and not buying AppleCare is $51. I made this point a few weeks ago when Apple posted new costs for iPhone X repairs and AppleCare coverage. I only bought AppleCare once for an iPhone when it was $99. Passing on AppleCare has worked out well for me and I don't plan on changing.
Report: Amazon gives up on TV bundles
Amazon.com Inc has scrapped plans to launch an online streaming service bundling popular U.S. broadcast and cable networks because it believes it cannot make enough money on such a service, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The world's largest online retailer has also been unable to convince key broadcast and basic cable networks to break with decades-old business models and join its a la carte Amazon Channels service, the sources said and has backed away from talks with them.
Amazon could be shifting strategy, but more likely the news demonstrates the entrenchment of cable content and cable companies. Bundling drives big profits through forcing customers to pay for content and also cross-promotional value across properties.
Given it's the golden age of TV content, it probably makes the most sense to focus on original programming rather than trying to break into the distribution business.
A bunch of thoughts on the iPhone X
Technically this is my 11th iPhone, although I didn't get each device. I skipped the iPhone 3G (no 3G service at the time) and bought both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Ten years after the original, it stands to reason the iPhone X is a big deal, and it is even just for the fact it's the first major revision since the iPhone 5s. Here from me are some highlights.
I'm not sure if the home button removal or Face ID is the biggest change yet, so I'll just start with the home button. I had over ten years of muscle memory with the home button, but it took less than a week to move on. The new home gesture has become mostly natural, although I still sometimes hesitate when jumping back to the home screen.
Related to the home button, I'm still not used to switching apps. I could quickly jump between apps with the double-click of the home button, but I'm struggling with the new gesture. There seem to be a couple of subtly different ways of doing this, and swiping from the bottom up to the right as sort of upside down L seems to work best for me. Still, I sometimes misfire and head back to the home screen, sometimes I overdo it, and it just hangs there waiting for me.
Much of the home button functionality has been relocated to the power button. Double click now prompts Apple Pay. I use triple click for the magnifier thingy in Accessibility. Hold it down bring up Siri. Power + volume down is shut-down and emergency. Lastly, power button and upper volume is the new screenshot. I could be missing something, but that's a bunch of new stuff to learn and new things to do accidentally. My camera roll seems to be well stocked with inadvertent screenshots.
Back to Face ID, this is pretty slick. It's nearly transparent authentication. The second generation Touch ID was very quick but still required me to do something. Face ID just needs me to look at the screen. It seems to work well in the dark, whether I'm wearing glasses or not, sunglasses or not, hat or not. It certainly works best when looking straight on to the screen. It doesn't work so well when the device is laying flat on a table and trying to peek at something. Similarly, it can be hit and miss when laying down in bed. One big advantage over Touch ID is I can still quickly unlock even though my fingers might be wet or dirty from cooking or projects. Also, no more problems with wet or dirty Touch ID sensors. On the flip side, Face ID a no-go when wearing a dust mask.
The rear camera is usually my big draw for iPhone upgrades. My Photos app show hundreds of photos with each iPhone over the years and it's remarkable how quality has improved. When capturing memories, I always want to get the best quality that can fit in my pocket. I like the new 4K video at 60 fps. Everything seems to respond quickly, which is great since kids tend not to hold still. Everything is fulltime auto HDR and I've jumped on the Live Photos bandwagon now that iOS 11 lets me edit key photos. I don't care for the new portrait modes. Maybe they will get better.
The new OLED edge display is nice. Screen to the edges doesn't change my life, but it is a nice display, and everything looks great. I didn't have any complaints with the iPhone 7 Plus, so this isn't solving a problem or changing much for me. I'm not noticing much with higher resolution, but image quality seems a little better with dark colors in particular.
However... the screen design decisions have made some changes.
The notch at the top. I don't care. On the plus side, the mobile carrier is gone. Minus, apparently so is battery percentage. I'm kind of bummed about that one, but otherwise, it doesn't bother me or negatively affect me.
I don't like how Control Center now works. Upper right corner is inconvenient. I don't have a suggestion, but I don't like the change. I'll likely use it much less. Thankfully, flashlight and camera are my two biggest functions and they're right on the lock screen. If Apple put the calculator there, I could probably be good.
Animojies are fun. My kids love them, although apparently, you can't stick out your tongue. Maybe the next iPhone... The most popular at home are the chicken followed by poo, of course.
The keyboard is a little different. In portrait view, Apple moved the keyboards and Siri buttons to a new bottom row. I think this works well for thumb typing since there's no bottom dead space anymore. Landscape mode though can be a mess. It seems like the keyboard takes up 2/3 of the screen and some websites force a banner in the upper 1/3. If I'm lucky, I might see what I'm typing. I'm not sure if this is specific to iPhone X since I remember limited text input before, but I've noticed it this past week.
About the size... the iPhone X has a larger screen but is smaller and lighter than the iPhone Plus models. It's noticeably smaller and lighter in the pocket. I was a slow adopter of the Plus models, which is why I bought the iPhone 6 and later that year got the iPhone 6 Plus. I'm on board with the larger screen and have adapted or tolerated the tradeoffs. The iPhone X minimized those tradeoffs while still adding some more screen. With that said, I feel weird thinking I'd like to see an even bigger edge display on the same footprint as the iPhone 8.
I considered not getting a case, but I need something to grip. Glass gets slick and, as reported, this is an expensive device to repair. I got the standard leather brown case. I had the same case with the iPhone 7 Plus, and I like it. It's still slim, sort of classy, and I like how that particular leather color ages with use.
Also, a quick note about security. Apple has heavily promoted Face ID, which means people will be poking holes and making fun of it. We saw this with Touch ID. If you're concerned about people spoofing Face ID (or Touch ID), don't use it. It's a convenience feature, but you'll be hard-pressed to beat a good password that only you know. Lastly, all this is relative because if someone really wants to get into your device, they'll probably figure out a way.
Mask used to unlock Face ID
the mask is crafted through a combination of 3D printing, makeup, and 2D images. There's also some "special processing done on the cheeks and around the face" where there are large areas of skin, and the nose is created from silicone. The demo video shows the iPhone being unlocked using the mask, and then again using the researcher's face, in just one go.
This is just a proof of concept to demonstrate that Face ID can be spoofed. The researches suggested this should be a concern, but I don't think it's a big deal. Days after Touch ID came out, people were coming up with elaborate ways to transfer finger prints or unlock while sleeping.
While Apple touts Face ID and Touch ID as security features, the real security advancement is how they enable users to quickly access their devices many times a day. Anyone with special concerns about the data on their devices should consider using a complex unlock codes.
1Password 7 brings Face ID Support
The latest version of 1Password for iOS adds support for the iPhone X Face ID feature. The feature authenticates users using the face-scanning ability rather than a password or Touch ID.
For me, it was transformative when 1Password brought support for Touch ID. No longer did I need to repeatedly enter my super password, which made it more likely to use 1Password and also have a better password. Face ID for me is an evolution on that. It works basically the same way as Touch ID, but now it's nearly transparent. Rather than having to move my thumb to scan I just pause for a moment to allow Face ID to do its thing. Then my 1Password vault is unlocked.
It's pretty slick.
Another major new feature is Quick Copy. Now, when swapping to 1Password to copy a username, when you swap back to 1Password it will automatically grab your password and, if using one, a one-time password. When switching back to the app, the password(s) are then pasted in.
SquareTrade called iPhone X most breakable iPhone
Something to consider here is that SquareTrade sells device insurance, so it's in their interest to sound an alarm.
With that said, the company's evaluation gave the iPhone X a high-risk breakability score. The video shows dropping the phone from 6 feet on concrete. Granted, most drops are likely to be waist high, rather than above your head, but it does show how the iPhone can be damaged. Both screen glass, back glass, and OLED functions appear affected. The company also noted that the iPhone X is expensive more expensive to fix due to its components and assembly.
As I used a pre-release iPhone X this week, it suddenly occurred to me that it might be fun to lip-sync a song to an Animoji and have it mimic my performance. I dubbed the idea "Animoji Karaoke" and have been filling my Twitter feed with it. Judging from my likes, retweets, and comments, I haven't just been entertaining myself; some people said that it redeemed Animoji or justifed buying a thousand-dollar phone.
The talking poop emoji seems destined to represent the iPhone X. This is fun though blending of tech and stupid. My kids predictably love animojis