What really happened with Apple’s Face ID ‘fail’ onstage
The internet is buzzing. As Apple (AAPL) demonstrated its new flagship phone onstage, the $999 iPhone X, the face-recognition unlocking feature failed. Bigly and splashily.
Apple software head Craig Federighi’s live demo had only just begun.
“Unlocking it is as easy as looking at it and swiping up,” he said, picking up the phone at his podium. “And—you know—“
The audience knew right away that something was wrong. Not because the phone didn’t unlock automatically and instantly, as it should have, but because Federighi seemed rattled.
He hit the Sleep switch to turn off the screen. “Let’s try that again,” he said.
No luck. “Ho ho ho! Let’s go to backup here!”
He picked up a second, backup demo phone. This time, the Face ID worked, and he went on with his demo.
But the headlines jumped to swift and merciless conclusions: Face ID had failed.
“Apple suffers embarrassing demo Face ID fail at iPhone X launch,” wrote the Telegraph. “Apple’s Face ID unlocking failed during its big demo,” said Business Insider. “Apple’s stock suddenly dropped after that Face ID fail,” went Vice.
In fact, though, Face ID performed perfectly. It appears somebody at Apple set up the phone incorrectly.
To see what really happened, just look at the screen Federighi was confronting. It says, “Your passcode is required to enable Face ID.”