How Apple built the iPhone X

Lance Ulanoff:

When Apple made the choice to drop the home button and Touch ID fingerprint scanning in favor of Face ID, Riccio said they went “all in” with that functional decision. “We spent no time looking at [putting] fingerprints on the back or through the glass or on the side,” he said. Apple did it because they believed in the quality of Face ID security and screen unlocking, with executives describing it as good as second-generation Touch ID, but also because there simply wasn’t time.

“As far as last-minute design changes? Actually, we didn’t have time for it,” said Riccio, who seemed energized by the memory of that intense development period. “Quite frankly, this program was on such a fast track to be offered [and] enabled this year. We had to lock [the design] very, very early. We actually locked the design, to let you know, in November,” said Riccio before he was cut off by Apple PR. Riccio appeared to realize he’d said maybe too much, and then reaffirmed with a smile, “We had to lock it early.”

Source: http://mashable.com/2017/10/31/how-apple-built-the-iphone-x/#4_mEbL.rnSq2

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Rene Ritchie iPhone X review: “The best damn product Apple has ever made”

Here’s where there’s a difference between Touch ID and Face ID: Touch ID throws away the original enrollment images of your fingerprints almost immediately. Face ID keeps the original enrollment images of your face (but crops them as tightly as possible so as not to store background information). That’s for convenience. Apple wants to be able to update the neural networks for Face ID without you having to re-register your face each time.

[..]

The True Depth camera reads the data and captures a randomized sequence of 2D images and depth maps which are then digitally signed and send to the Secure Enclave for comparison. (Randomization also protects against spoofing attacks.)

The portion of the Neural Engine inside the Secure Enclave converts the captured data into math and the secure Face ID neural networks compare it with the math from the registered face. If the math matches, a “yes” token is released and you’re on your way. If it doesn’t, you need to try again, fall back to passcode, or stay locked out of the device.

[..]

None of the neural networks have yet been trained to distinguish multiple registered faces. They can tell you or not you, but not you, someone else, and not either of you. That’s a level of complexity beyond the first iteration of the system. Right now, very few people reportedly register multiple fingers for Touch ID, but Apple could add that functionality to a future implementation of Face ID, if there’s significant demand.

[..]

Once the app asks for authentication, it hands off to the system, and all it ever gets back is that authentication or rejection. Apple has a separate system, built into ARKit, the company’s augmented reality framework, that provides basic face tracking for Animoji or any apps that want to provide similar functionality, but it only gets rudimentary mesh and depth data, and never gets anywhere near Face ID data or the Face ID process.

As with his previous iPhone reviews, Rene doesn’t leave out any detail, his reviews are always worth a read.

Source: https://www.imore.com/iphone-x-review

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Matthew Pazarino on Face ID vs Touch ID

If you want to open a notification, for instance, you have to tap it then Touch ID to open it. With Face ID, it’s already open when you tap.

I cut Twitter loading on 8 Plus because lol http://Twitter.app . Anyway, if we’re watching that’s 2 sec vs 3.2 sec from cold start.

Read the entire twitter thread for more effect, but I can see Face ID being faster than Touch ID in general as Face ID is one less action.

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Jeff Williams on Apple’s Planning

Jeff Williams, speaking in Taiwan at the 30th anniversary ceremony of TSMC:

The nature of the way Apple does business is we put all of our energy into our new products, and we launch them, and if we were to bet heavily on TSMC, there would be no backup plan. You can not double plan the kind volumes that we do. We want leading edge technology, but we want it at established technology kind of volumes.

Source: https://www.macrumors.com/2017/10/23/jeff-williams-attends-tsmc-30th-anniversary/

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Apple Pay nabs 90% of all mobile contactless transactions where active

Ingrid Lunden, reporting for TechCrunch:

The advances point to how Apple wants to steal a march when it comes to using phones as a proxy for a card or cash, and there is some anecdotal evidence that it’s working: merchants and others who have partnered with Apple say that Apple Pay is accounting for 90 percent of all mobile contactless transactions globally in markets where it’s available.

“Apple Pay is the future of everyday spend,” said Bailey on stage at the Money 20/20 conference that kicked off in Las Vegas yesterday.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/23/apple-pay-now-in-20-markets-nabs-90-of-all-contactless-transactions-where-active/

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Tragically Hip’s Gord Downie dead at 53

Tragically Hip’s Gord Downie dead at 53

CBC:

Gord Downie, the Tragically Hip frontman who united a diverse array of music lovers with his commanding stage presence and Canadiana-laced lyrics, has died.

He was 53.

Downie had an aggressive and incurable form of brain cancer called glioblastoma, which he discovered after a seizure in December 2015.

He died Tuesday night surrounded by his children and family, according to a statement on the band’s website.

Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/entertainment/gord-downie-obit-1.4359906

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The impossible dream of USB-C

Marco Arment:

I love the idea of USB-C: one port and one cable that can replace all other ports and cables. It sounds so simple, straightforward, and unified.

In practice, it’s not even close.

USB-C normally transfers data by the USB protocol, but it also supports Thunderbolt… sometimes. The 12-inch MacBook has a USB-C port, but it doesn’t support Thunderbolt at all. All other modern MacBook models support Thunderbolt over their USB-C ports… but if you have a 13-inch model, and it has a Touch Bar, then the right-side ports don’t have full Thunderbolt bandwidth.

If you bought a USB-C cable, it might support Thunderbolt, or it might not. There’s no way to tell by looking at it. There’s usually no way to tell whether a given USB-C device requires Thunderbolt, either — you just need to plug it in and see if it works.

Much of USB-C’s awesome capability comes from Thunderbolt and other Alternate Modes. But due to their potential bandwidth demands, computers can’t have very many USB-C ports, making it especially wasteful to lose one to a laptop’s own power cable. The severe port shortage, along with the need to connect to non-USB-C devices, inevitably leads many people to need annoying, inelegant, and expensive dongles and hubs.

Marco is right on the money on USB-C.

Source: https://marco.org/2017/10/14/impossible-dream-of-usb-c

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Google invests in startup that’s turning dead PCs into Chromebooks

Neverware, a New York City-based startup with a software platform that converts legacy computers into Chromebooks, announced today that it has raised a new round of investment led by Google. It won’t say the exact amount, but it will likely be more than the $6.5 million it raised in its last round.

The synergy between the two parties is obvious. CloudReady is built on the same open-source technology as Google’s Chrome OS. IT teams from corporations or schools that decide to use Neverware also get to leverage integration with ChromeEnterprise through Google’s cloud-based Admin console, simplifying and unifying remote management of the disparate models in their fleets.

An investment that makes sense.

Source: https://www.theverge.com/2017/10/11/16455490/google-invest-neverware-chromebooks-refurbish

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iOS Control Center: Understanding how the WiFi and Bluetooth toggles work

John Gruber, on the fact that the WiFi and Bluetooth buttons in Control Center no longer act as on/off switches:

This is an interesting feature, but I think it’s going to confuse and anger a lot of people. Until iOS 11, the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth toggles in Control Center worked the way it looked like they worked: they were on/off switches. Now, in iOS 11, they still look like on/off switches, but they act as disconnect switches.

Off the top of my head, I would suggest making them three-way switches: on and connected, on but disconnected, and off.

Source: https://daringfireball.net/linked/2017/09/20/control-center-wifi-bluetooth

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