Face ID will restore Touch ID, the home button sensor that’s allowed fingerprint logins following 2013’s iPhone 5S. Users can see the phone by swiping up from the base instead of hitting the button.
“Nothing has ever been easier or more natural,” Schiller told the crowd.
The refreshed iPhone 8 will continue uninterrupted, including both the home button and Touch ID.
The new capabilities are facilitated by the new camera and processor systems. Apple calls the new camera TrueDepth, which both a traditional camera, an infrared camera, a depth sensor and dot projector, which protrudes 30,000 infrared dots onto the user’s face. The extra complex depth information also presents the system harder to spoof, since flat icons won’t appear the same as a three-dimensional face.
Apple also created a new version of its A11 processor to manage the unique demands of real-time facial recognition. Schiller pointed to the chip as a “bionic engine,” using neural net technology to compare various faces login against a previously enrolled face. As in Touch ID, the processing is performed entirely on the device, rather than on remote servers, in an attempt to protect user privacy.
According to Schiller, the decision is far more accurate than Touch ID, with a one / 1,000,000 risk of letting someone different access your phone. Apple’s comparable estimate for Touch ID was one / 50,000.
The new Face ID system was first announced in a firmware leak over the weekend, adjacent new details on wireless charging and a status bar update in iOS 11. According to the leak, the new facial recognition system will be intelligent enough to substitute for Touch ID everywhere the current system is used, both unlocking the phone and confirming purchases on iTunes, the App Store, and Apple Pay.
Testing with the leaked software, Brazilian developer Guilherme Rambo proved how the system enrolls a person’s face, asking for a range of possible angles.
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