When Apple first introduced its advanced 3D face unlock technology as part of the iPhone X in 2017, there was a lot not to like…
Face ID was slower to unlock your iPhone than Touch ID; it didn’t work when looking at your phone off-angle, and it took up a ton of space, giving the iPhone a cosmetic makeover, resulting in the iconic notch. Yet Face ID was not the Unique reason I sold my iPhone XS and iPhone XR in 2019 before switching to the Huawei P30 Pro, but that was also not one of the reasons that would have kept me using either of the iPhones 2018 from Apple.
I therefore naturally expressed some reservations before ordering my iPhone 13 mini earlier this year. I was used to the convenience of the iPhone 8 Old but quality fingerprint sensor, and while slow, the The Pixel 6 Pro’s optical scanner also allowed me to unlock my phone even if it was sitting on a table.
However, it turns out that Face ID has gotten better over the years! Not only is it faster at recognizing my face, but it also does it from more (strange) angles. On top of that, the notch is now smaller (even gone on the iPhone 14 Pro series), and it feels like I’m giving up less screen to have this handy security feature.
So Face ID is perfect – end of story. Goodbye.
Well not really… Apple’s facial recognition technology still has notable limitations that take away from the “it works” factor that Tim Cook & Co loves so much. But then… What comes after Face ID? The return of Touch ID? Or something completely different? You know what… Google might have the answer!
Face ID is the “magical Apple technology” that everyone loves… when it works (which it doesn’t 100% of the time)
As mentioned at the beginning, Face ID was able to convert me. But that doesn’t make it perfect…
In fact, I think my willingness to accept Face ID or even tolerate a lot of that is down to my sheer appreciation for the iPhone 13 mini – mostly thanks to how compact this phone is, which makes it so unique to me.
Of course, technical improvements made by Apple to Face ID have also helped, but facial recognition is still far from perfect…
- Face ID still won’t let you unlock your phone if you’re wearing a headset that covers both your eyes and the rest of your face
- Although Face ID works with face masks, it takes a lot longer to read your face (if any)
- Due to the limited angular range of Apple’s 3D unlocking system, you still cannot unlock your phone if it is placed on a desk
- With Face ID, it is rather difficult to unlock your phone if you are moving quickly, such as when jogging outdoors or on a treadmill
- Even when Face ID fails to read your face, there’s a lack of immediate response to let you know to correct your positioning, requiring you to type in your PIN (like a caveman!)
I have come to realize Face ID is the kind of “magical Apple technology” that I love…when it works. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work 100% of the time. It’s close… but not there.
If Touch ID doesn’t return, what will come after Face ID for Apple’s iPhone? Google hides the answer!
Right! If Face ID isn’t perfect, fast enough, and reliable enough, what other option does Apple and other phone makers have for you to unlock your phone, make payments, and more? ? What do the other options do we, users, have? Well, maybe the answer is part of what’s called “ambient commuting”…
AmbientComputing is a general term that describes an environment of smart devices, data, AI decisions, and human activity that enables computing actions alongside everyday life, without the need for direct human commands or interventions. Essentially, computers quietly take care of things in the background.
The phrase was coined in the 1990s, but first caught on in the mid-2010s. Even then, it wasn’t until around 2018 that it became a buzzword regularly used by GoogleHP and Silicon Valley organizations.
The Google Assistant started as Google Voice Search, evolved into Google Now (a less intelligent version of artificial intelligence focused on predicting user behavior), and it’s now the most popular virtual assistant. intelligent, at least among those available to consumers.
Thanks to Google’s vast collection of data and its powerful machine learning algorithms, Google Assistant is an integral part of the present and future of enterprise ambient computing, virtually encapsulating the idea of ”multiple computers who talk to each other”.
Today, the devices that host Google Assistant are countless. Specifically, we now have a Google Pixel Watch with the assistant on board, and a Pixel tablet scheduled to launch in 2023, which aims to transform into a Google Nest Hub when you’re done using it, thanks to a smart docking solution. Besides Google’s own hardware, Google Assistant is or can be part of almost all smart TV, wireless headphones, headphones, smartwatch, car (via Android Auto), and even… lightampule! Ambient computing, indeed.
The future of Face ID could be… ‘No ID’ – could an ‘Apple Ring’ be the answer to future phone security?
Anyway, the reason I’m going through all this Google talk is because Google and Apple are the two companies that have the hardware, the software, and most importantly, the database to create this future of ambient computing that allows our technology to communicate behind the scenes to make things like finding a song, a news story or unlocking your phone as easy as possible.
That’s why I think the future of secure phone unlocking is for us to do as little as possible to unlock our phones. Or rather do nothing.
Those of you who own an Apple Watch (it doesn’t) and an iPhone know that the iPhone doesn’t need Face ID to let you unlock it when it’s near your Apple Watch. So, in a way, Ambient Computing is already happening around us – doing exactly what it’s supposed to do – reducing our input in order to get things done.
Another example of the power of ambient computing is Google’s Now Playing feature that always knows what songs are playing in the background and displays them on your lock screen.
Unlocking your phone using Apple Ring and Google Ring as part of ambient computing
The real challenge for Apple and Google would be to find a way to let you unlock your phone and make secure purchases even when you’re not wearing your smartwatch or when you’re away from home surrounded by other Apple devices. or Google talking to each other. another to give you location-based access to your phone (Android already does this).I thought about itand there is not a single object that humans wear or carry that could be used as master piece of this Ambient Computing thing. Sure, some wear their watch all the time (even in bed), but others, like me, don’t. And some will have a Google Nest Hub at home or a Home Pod, but others (like me) won’t.
So what about an Apple Ring / Google Ring?
We’ve heard rumors about it before, but they’ve never been more than wishful thinking. Frankly, I realize what I’m doing right now isn’t too different either. But how complicated could it be, really!
So I am convinced that we could having a ring, necklace or other wearable accessory that could become the centerpiece of Apple’s or Google’s ecosystems and talk to our phone, allowing us to unlock it without even thinking about it.
That is, of course, if Apple and Google don’t go straight to…chip implants? This way you couldn’t lose your ring. Am I right?
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