Apple lowers Face ID specifications to ramp up iPhone X production, report says

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According to a new report from Bloomberg, Apple is changing its strategy when it comes to manufacturing the Face ID sensor in the upcoming iPhone X. Requirements have been lowered so that suppliers can produce those sensors much more quickly. Update: Apple says the claims are “completely false.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo shared a concerning report a few days ago. According to him, Apple won’t be able to produce enough iPhone X units for first weekend sales alone. Apple should have around 2 to 3 million units on launch day. The company could suffer from chronicle shortages over multiple months.

The iPhone X packs many cutting-edge components and producing tens of millions of those components have been hard. One of them is the dot projector in the Face ID sensor. This component projects a network of infrared dots to create a 3D map of your face based on the reflection of those dots. It’s essentially like a Kinect in a phone.

Apple usually sets some strict rules when it comes to quality assurance. Components that don’t meet the specifications can’t be used in a device. And suppliers have to rigorously test all parts.

And yet, the company might have been too aggressive when it comes to the iPhone X release plan. Factories could have used more time to plan and improve their production facilities in order to ramp up production.

Apple now requires less testing of the completed modules. It means that some modules will be as good, but some modules might not be as accurate. But it also means that production should be faster.

There’s a one in 50,000 chance that someone else can unlock an iPhone with a Touch ID sensor. By switching to face recognition, Apple originally claimed it would be more secure — the chances of someone else unlocking your phone should have been one in a million with Face ID. It’s unclear if today’s change is going to affect this number.

Apple’s statement regarding the report:

Customer excitement for iPhone X and Face ID has been incredible, and we can’t wait for customers to get their hands on it starting Friday, November 3. Face ID is a powerful and secure authentication system that’s incredibly easy and intuitive to use. The quality and accuracy of Face ID haven’t changed. It continues to be 1 in a million probability of a random person unlocking your iPhone with Face ID.

Bloomberg’s claim that Apple has reduced the accuracy spec for Face ID is completely false and we expect Face ID to be the new gold standard for facial authentication.