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More Face ID FUD, This Time From Reuters

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Stephen Nellis, reporting for Reuters under the headline “App Developer Access to iPhone X Face Data Spooks Some Privacy Experts”:

Apple Inc won accolades from privacy experts in September for assuring that facial data used to unlock its new iPhone X would be securely stored on the phone itself.

But Apple’s privacy promises do not extend to the thousands of app developers who will gain access to facial data in order to build entertainment features for iPhone X customers, such as pinning a three-dimensional mask to their face for a selfie or letting a video game character mirror the player’s real-world facial expressions.

Apple allows developers to take certain facial data off the phone as long as they agree to seek customer permission and not sell the data to third parties, among other terms in a contract seen by Reuters.

This is dangerously misleading FUD. I say “dangerous” because this is the sort of story that could lead people to not set up Face ID, leaving their iPhones less secure and less useful.

There is no way, opt-in or otherwise, for third-party apps to access Face ID data. Face ID data is stored on the iPhone X’s secure enclave — even the OS itself can’t read it.

What third-party apps do have access to, if granted permission, is the front-facing camera with the TrueDepth sensor. That’s it. Apps have access to a front-facing camera that is better than previous front-facing cameras because it has 3D depth mapping. An app (like Snapchat or Instagram) can use this to implement augmented reality features like putting a mask or fake mustache on your face, but that has nothing to do with Face ID. I don’t think this is any more privacy invasive than what these apps are already doing with your iPhone camera — it’s just more accurate spatially for AR effects.

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jheiss
14 days ago
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They don't have access to they Face ID data, but they do have access to a high resolution 3D scan of my face. That's supposed to make me feel better? Maybe it's not enough data to produce a replica that can fool Face ID, but it's certainly a big step in that direction.
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Apple Announces iPhone X Availability

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Apple Newsroom:

iPhone X, the future of the smartphone, featuring a revolutionary new design with a stunning all-screen display, wireless charging and an incredible rear camera with dual optical image stabilization, will be available to customers for pre-order on Friday, October 27 at 12:01 a.m. PDT on apple.com and the Apple Store app.

iPhone X will be available in more than 55 countries and territories, and in Apple Stores beginning Friday, November 3 at 8:00 a.m. local time. Stores will have iPhone X available for walk-in customers, who are encouraged to arrive early.

“Encouraged to arrive early” — yeah, like maybe today.

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jheiss
24 days ago
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iOS 11 has made my iPhone 6S unpleasantly slow. I'm waiting to check out an iPhone X in person before deciding whether to replace the 6S with an 8 or an X.
gazuga
24 days ago
You might be waiting until early next year then.
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Cast Iron Pan

6 Comments and 17 Shares
If you want to evenly space them, it's easiest to alternate between the Arctic and Antarctic. Some people just go to the Arctic twice, near the equinoxes so the visits are almost 6 months apart, but it's not the same.
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jheiss
28 days ago
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If soap is destroying your "seasoning" then you don't actually have seasoning.
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5 public comments
daanzu_alt_text_bot
6 days ago
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If you want to evenly space them, it's easiest to alternate between the Arctic and Antarctic. Some people just go to the Arctic twice, near the equinoxes so the visits are almost 6 months apart, but it's not the same.
emdot
8 days ago
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We're not worthy.
San Luis Obispo, CA
sulrich
25 days ago
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guilty.
ManBehindThePlan
28 days ago
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The obsession of cast iron care is laughable, considering that the pioneers rode with them over the Rockies. Of course, they actually used them, so the patina was always kept.
chrisamico
28 days ago
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Sometimes XKCD hits close to home.
Boston, MA

The Case for Apple to Finally Just Make a TV

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Nilay Patel:

One of my biggest issues with the new Apple TV 4K is that it doesn’t automatically switch the mode your TV is in to match the content. It’s one of the biggest and longest-standing issues in the living room: you want to run the TV display at a refresh rate of 24Hz when you watch 24fps movies, but animating a user interface at 24Hz looks like garbage. Apple and others deal with this issue by running everything at 60Hz, but that creates visual issues for 24fps movies — kind of silly because you buy all this stuff to watch movies, not menu animations. There are endless forum threads about adjusting TV settings to handle the motion problems that come with playing 24fps video at 60Hz.

At the same time, Apple recently introduced the ProMotion display on the iPad Pro, which dynamically varies the refresh rate of the LCD panel to match the content being displayed. When you watch a movie, it slows down to 24Hz to match the 24fps frame rate of most movies, and when you’re scrolling around a web page or playing a game, it can ramp up to 120Hz for maximum smoothness.

So, what if Apple made a TV with ProMotion that dynamically adjusted the refresh rate for the content being displayed, just like the iPad Pro? It would run at 120Hz on the homescreen and in games, slow down to 24Hz to display movies and TV perfectly, and ramp up again when you hit the home or Siri button to bring up the interface again. And live sports apps like NFL Sunday Ticket and MLB At Bat could run at 60Hz for smoother motion — the Xbox One Sunday Ticket app already runs at 60Hz.

Like Patel, I really don’t expect Apple to make a TV, but I sure wish they would, and he really makes a great case here. Especially the fact that previously, the cable box was king, but today, there’s a sizable (and growing) market of cord-cutters who just want to use streaming apps.

“Apple should make a cell phone running a stripped-down version of OS X” was a longstanding pipe dream, too.

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jheiss
50 days ago
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Or just add something to the HDMI spec that lets the content device control the refresh rate of the display device?
tingham
50 days ago
Apparently "counting is hard"
duerig
50 days ago
I have yet to find an HDMI switching box that lets me toggle between two different inputs successfully. They are all 'auto-detect' and the detection fails. I suspect that under the covers the HDMI spec is a nightmare and impossible to fully implement properly.
martinbaum
50 days ago
Or just always run at 120Hz, out of which clean 60, 30, 24, etc. refreshes etc. can be drawn.
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satadru
50 days ago
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Uh, Kodi is happy to switch your tv to 24hz or whatever when it sees a video at that frame rate and your tv supports it. This feature has been there for many years.
New York, NY
apfontana
50 days ago
wtf is kodi?
mareino
50 days ago
Copying proven tech is pretty much Apple's competitive advantage post-Jobs, though.
MotherHydra
49 days ago
+1 for Kodi, I believe Plex also supports this.
gdvillarreal
49 days ago
There’s a short flicker/delay situation when you switch modes on TVs where the image goes away briefly (Kodi even lets you configure a delay where it pauses content while your TV and receiver finishes switching), and Apple has said that they don’t feel that’s a good user experience. Thus the proposed solution of “dynamic” frame rate (not a hard switch between modes).

WSJ: No Touch ID in D22

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The Wall Street Journal, under the byline “Yoko Kubota in Tokyo, Tripp Mickle in San Francisco, and Takashi Mochizuki in Tokyo”:

The production delays earlier this summer stemmed in part from Apple’s decision to build new phones using organic light-emitting diode, or OLED, screens similar to those used by rival Samsung Electronics Co. At the same time, Apple decided to ditch the physical home button that contains fingerprint sensors for unlocking the device. Apple tried to embed the Touch ID function, or fingerprint scanner, in the new display, which proved difficult, the people familiar with the process said.

As deadlines approached, Apple eventually abandoned the fingerprint scanner, the people said, and users will unlock the phone using either an old-fashioned password or what is expected to be a new facial-recognition feature. Nonetheless, precious time was lost and production was put back by about a month, according to people familiar with the situation.

By this account, it sounds like Apple is rushing D22 to market, before it’s actually good enough to ship. But it really depends who the Journal’s sources are. With two of the bylined reporters in Tokyo, it seems very possible the sources are in the supply chain, not at Apple.

It all comes down to how good the facial recognition is. If it’s as fast, reliable, trustworthy, and convenient as Touch ID, then omitting Touch ID is a legitimate design choice. Forward progress on biometrics. If it’s worse than Touch ID in any meaningful way, it’s an inexcusable mistake.

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jheiss
70 days ago
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Let's hope it is more reliable than Touch ID. I can pretty much guarantee that when my fingers are a little bit sweaty Touch ID won't work. But facial recognition that requires me to remove glasses or something would be annoying even if it was otherwise more reliable. Sigh, no good answers here I suspect.
lukeburrage
70 days ago
Use one of the five fingerprint slots to register your main finger, but wet your finger beforehand.
samuel
70 days ago
Wow, that works?
davelevy
70 days ago
As long as it's consistent - Before the rotation was consistently good I would use the extra slots to go from the side or upside down. Now I just have to watch out for my kids adding their fingers in the extra slots. I could scan all my fingers to use up the slots but I like the cat and mouse.
the7roy
69 days ago
Ever tried someone else's wet finger? I wonder...
MotherHydra
68 days ago
I never found Touch ID to be the silver, unlocking bullet most claim it to be. But I also didn't see ANY battery improvement when going to the iPhone + size so.
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tingham
70 days ago
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Swimming + Touch ID == suq.
Cary, NC

WSJ: Apple to Hold iPhone Launch Event on 12 September

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Tripp Mickle and Drew FitzGerald, reporting for The Wall Street Journal:

Apple Inc. has scheduled a product-announcement event on Sept. 12, according to people briefed on its plans, reinforcing expectations that the technology giant will release new iPhones and a smartwatch well ahead of the holiday shopping season.

That’s the date I would have bet on. Last few years it’s been the Wednesday after Labor Day, but that felt too early this year.

The company is expected to unveil three iPhones, according to other people familiar with its plans. Those include a showcase iPhone to mark the product’s 10th anniversary that is larger and pricier and features an edge-to-edge display and facial-recognition technology, as well as updates to the two iPhone 7 models that started selling last year.

They’re not launching D22 this year because it’s the iPhone’s 10th anniversary. They’re launching it this year because it’s ready. If it had been ready last year, they would have launched it last year. They might well mention the 10th anniversary of the original iPhone on stage at the event, but I would be very surprised — and probably a little alarmed — if they make it part of the marketing campaign for the device. Again, they might put it in the keynote event (like they did with the company’s 40th anniversary), but that was never part of any advertising campaign.

The trick Apple needs to pull off here is making all three new iPhones look new and exciting. Calling D22 the special 10th Anniversary iPhone makes the 4.7- and 5.5-inch models seem non-special.

In the past two years it has used San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, but people close to the company say it is aiming to use the 1,000-seat Steve Jobs Theater on its new headquarters campus. The new headquarters, however, aren’t finished, and the construction timetable could affect the timing or location of the event, those people said.

We’re two weeks away from the event. The Journal’s sources may not know where it’s being held, but Apple does. (But it leaves me hanging where I should book a hotel room.)

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jheiss
80 days ago
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Most hotels have generous cancellation policies. Book both and cancel the one you don't need.
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