Apple Unveils iPhone X with Face ID, 3D Sensors, and More
Available for pre-ordering starting Oct. 27, Apple's next-generation iPhone, the iPhone X, will set buyers back $999 or more. The 10th anniversary iPhone will hit stores on Nov. 3, arriving with a slew of new features including Face ID, 3D animated emoji, and the "most powerful and smartest chip ever in a smartphone."
Apple unveiled its latest device during a live event yesterday at the new Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, Calif. And, just as Microsoft did in going from Windows 8 to Windows 10, Apple decided to skip a generation in its device numbering system, going straight from the iPhone 8 to the iPhone X (pictured above and pronounced "ten").
Other new devices debuting at yesterday's event were the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, Apple TV 4K, and the Apple Watch Series 3 with built-in cellular capabilities.
Face ID Raises Privacy Concerns
Featuring an all-glass front and back and wrapped in a narrow band of stainless steel, the 5.8-inch iPhone X comes with Apple's first-ever OLED display, as well as wireless charging capabilities, dual rear cameras, and a front-facing TrueDepth camera that supports personalized, animated emojis and a new kind of biometric security: Face ID. TrueDepth stems from Apple's 2013 acquisition of 3D sensing company PrimeSense, which developed the 3D sensor used in the original Xbox Kinect from Microsoft.
Designed to replace Apple's fingerprint-enabled Touch ID, which disappeared along with the iPhone's home button to enable a front face that's nearly all screen, Face ID lets users unlock their devices and verify purchases through facial recognition technology. However, the security feature did not work as planned when senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi tried to demonstrate Face ID live on stage yesterday.
According to a report in Business Insider, the failure might have been due to the fact that the phone had just restarted, which meant a user would first need to enter a passcode to activate Face ID, just as would be required for Touch ID.
Phil Schiller, Apple's head of worldwide marketing, said Face ID offers greater security than Touch ID. He said that the company even tested the new biometric technology with professionally made human masks to ensure a 3D replica of someone's face wouldn't unlock the phone.
However, several security and privacy advocates have expressed concern that Face ID could open new avenues for surveillance and control.
"Not to get too dystopic but Face ID is the normalization of facial recognition tech," University of California-Davis law school professor Elizabeth Joh noted today on Twitter. "The 'shoulda thought of those abuses' moment is now."
"Apple does FaceID fairly well -- local data+secure enclave, etc.," tweeted Zeynep Tufekci, an associate professor in information and library science at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. "Not the issue. We're building the infrastructure of authoritarianism. That is."
Users concerned about technology security might want to use strong passwords rather than Face ID to secure their phones, American Civil Liberties Union staff attorney Brett Kaufman said In an interview today with the Daily Beast.
Apple Watch Adds Cellular Capabilities
In addition to the iPhone X, Apple yesterday also unveiled the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, each of which will continue to feature a home button with Touch ID rather than Face ID. The iPhone 8, which offers a 4.7-inch Retina HD display, will be priced starting at $699, while the iPhone 8 Plus with a 5.5-inch display will be $799 and up. Pre-ordering for both devices will start Friday, and the phones will be available in stores beginning Sept. 22.
The new Apple Watch Series 3 will be available in two models, one with just GPS and one with GPS and cellular capabilities, which will allow users to make and receive calls without having to have their iPhones nearby. Hitting stores on Sept. 22, the new Apple Watch with cellular support will start at $399, while the base price of the GPS-only version is $329.
With support for 4K and HDR viewing, the new Apple TV 4K is powered by Apple's A10X Fusion chip, also used in the iPad Pro. Combined with the Apple TV app and Apple's intelligent digital assistant Siri, Apple TV 4K will let users control their televisions, search for programs, and make other requests via voice commands. Pre-ordering starts on Friday, with Apple TV 4K arriving in stores on Sept. 22. The 32 GB version starts at $179, while the 64 GB model is $199 and up.
Image credit: Product shots by Apple; iStock/Artist's concept.
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