Synaptics's Clear ID sensor is not the first sensor to scan your thumb print through a display. The Vivo X20 phone, available now in China, is not the first phone to read your thumb through the screen. You might not know this if you'd seen the headlines coming out of CES - where Synaptic's Clear ID was haled as a game changer that fixed the problems we all have with the iPhone's Face ID and the Galaxy S8's awkward fingerprint reader. But it's the truth. This isn't the first tech to come along as a challenge to Face ID's impending dominance, but it definitely something different.
Tagged With face ID
It sucks when a new technology comes along and creeps everybody out. It sucks even more when that technology is so good, so life-changing that even the most discerning consumer sets that anxiety aside and says, "Who cares if Apple owns detailed biometric data about my face?" That's what Face ID has done to me with the iPhone X. And if you're not already using it, you're next.
Did you ever play Frogger and think, "this is great with a joystick, but what would really be awesome is if I could just use my face?" No. You did not. That would have felt like a stupid request unless you're a game developer exploring new modes of input. But don't worry, developer Nathan Gitter made it happen anyways. Rainbrow is a new game that lets you navigate a rainbow using nothing but your eyebrows.
Apple's new Face ID security for the iPhone X has sparked a number of concerns, with the biggest being how secure the biometric system really is. The tech giant says that while the facial recognition system is intended for convenience rather than absolute security, it's less vulnerable than its Touch ID predecessor - though testing has shown that the system generally works, but has a number of faults and unexpected behaviours.
I'm a total gadget nerd, and it's been five years since a new smartphone made me nod to myself with the understanding that, "Yes, I need that thing more than I need air." But the buzz around the iPhone X has had me a little more hyped than usual.
Not just because the iPhone finally ditched the bezels and got an OLED display -- Samsung's Galaxy S8 lost its bezels in March -- but because the iPhone X is the line's first significant overhaul since the iPhone 4. I should know better than to fall for the hype, but after spending nearly a week with the device, I've actually convinced myself that spending $1579 on a phone seems like a good idea. If you hate me for saying that, that's OK, I hate me too.
The iPhone X is a weird and wonderful device. Apple's new phone looks and behaves so differently to the iPhones we're used to, but it takes just a day or two to become familiar with it. Apple has been subtly training us for life without a home button over the past few iterations of iOS by emphasising swipe gestures, and the iPhone X benefits from this established muscle memory.
I've only had a few days to play with the iPhone X, so I can't reliably comment on things such as battery life, but here are my first impressions of Apple's tenth anniversary flagship phone.
I've now had the iPhone X for just 24 hours - the majority of which have been spent trying to break Face ID. For the most part, Face ID has worked as described - opening my phone when I'm sitting in the dark, or wearing a variety of glasses. It works whether my hair is up, down, or in my face. But today, while shooting a Facebook Live illustrating the technology, I managed to kind of break Face ID.
When Apple debuted its new facial recognition unlock system, Face ID, in September, the company faced questions about how it would sidestep the security and bias problems that have undermined similar facial recognition systems in the past. Senator Al Franken was one of the many people curious about how exactly how Apple was going to ensure Face ID's success, and today, Apple responded to a series of questions sent by Franken's office the day after the system was announced.