What really happened with Apple’s onstage Face ID glitch: Face ID worked perfectly, as intended

“The internet is buzzing. As Apple demonstrated its new flagship phone onstage, the $999 iPhone X, the face-recognition unlocking feature failed,” David Pogue reports for Yahoop Finance. “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…'”

“He hit the Sleep switch to turn off the screen. ‘Let’s try that again,’ he said,” Pogue reports. “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.”

“In fact, though, Face ID performed perfectly. It appears somebody at Apple set up the phone incorrectly,” Pogue reports. “To see what really happened, just look at the screen Federighi was confronting. It says, ‘Your passcode is required to enable Face ID.’ …It’s a security measure… Somebody, in the process of setting up Federighi’s demo phone, had restarted it before the show. The ‘passcode is required’ message protected Federighi’s stored face data, just the way today’s phones protect your stored fingerprint data.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Face ID worked perfectly, exactly as intended.

The Apple employee who blew this – let’s, uh, face it: The world’s first Face ID demo simply HAS to go off without a hitch (misinterpreted or otherwise) – should be pounding pavement today. If your (likely one) job is to make sure the equipment on stage works during a huge event attended by the world’s tech media and the equipment is improperly set up, generating reams of negative press mis- and disinformation worldwide, then you should be pink-slipped immediately. Period. Don’t let the 20-foot tall glass door hit you on the ass on the way out.

Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected. — Steve Jobs

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

54 Comments

    1. Even though Craig F. is mostly considered on of the best guys in Apple’s top brass, he really had a brain fart during the demo and screwed up pretty badly himself. As the head of all software, he should have caught the situation even having been woken up in the middle of the night. Even I, a mediocre user, understood what was going on.

    2. Welcome to Tim Cook’s rotten Apple:

      Where fuckups are not only accepted, but are considered the norm

      Bad design is repeatedly utilized in conjunction with apathy and laziness

      Social causes trump anything that’s actually product or user focused

      Naming conventions are an exercise in mental retardation

      Hardware updates are virtually non-existent

      And Keynote presentations are about as significant as excerpts from Hillary Clinton’s latest book

    3. It was no big deal. He recovered very smoothly, in fact. The iPhone will require your password even if the device simply has gone to sleep for a certain period of time. Honestly, it is no big deal. You people are ridiculous. Apple is hitting all time highs. The new campus is built. The transition to management after Steve Jobs’ untimely death is complete. Some analysts (Morgan Stanley) are now predicting Apple share prices of 205 (and 253 in the bullish case scenario). And you are belly-aching that Craig Federighi’s presentation phone requested a passcode?

      Silly people.

    4. Nah, Apple just made a stupid mistake and no one blames Apple because it’s Apple. Apple is beyond criticism. Apple could lay a turd on stage and people would applaud them for it.

  1. Let’s not discount the possibility that Craig forgot to use himself or provide the setter upper with his passcode in the pre show excitement. Don’t be so quick to judge…..

    1. I was actually mostly surprised that Craig wasn’t able to master the situation. Being the top guy responsible for the software, he should have been able to grasp the situation in a fraction of a second and just describe exactly how it works (“Oh, this one has been restarted. Just as with Touch ID, you just have to enter the passcode first to enable Face ID.”)

      Even though the joker who set up all the demo equipment screw up on his end, Craig is most likely cursing himself today that he had a brain fart.

      1. Exactly. A bad situation could have been turned to a huge positive. I don’t fault Craig though. He’s done some great work. He just missed an opportunity. Shit happens. Eddie Cueis the slob and needs to go for entirely different reasons. The 4K Apple TV theme shoulda been “We’re finally catching up to yesterday.”

    2. As somebody points out on another thread, FaceID uses the same rules as TouchID on iOS 11. If the device has not been unlocked within the last eight hours, it requires a passcode. Is it possible that the rehearsal for the presentation was the night before and not sometime after 5:00 that morning, or that Craig used the backup phone at the rehearsal and forgot to unlock the other phone?

        1. @KingMel

          If you would take some time spit Cook’s balls out your mouth for 5-seconds, you would know that Tim Cook and crew fucking reward incompetence. It’s what Cook built his new Apple on. This guy has been consistently destroying this company for 6-years… one fuckup at a time.

          1. You have got to be kidding. ‘destroying’? Really? The biggest, most profitable company on the planet is not being destroyed. Whatever you wanted Apple to be may be gone, but if you think you could do better or guide a company to what you want, just go out there and do it.

          2. Kind of like Steve Jobs’ comment about poor phone reception: “you’re holding it wrong”. Not a good response, but you have to admit, it really hasn’t affected the product’s sales life?

  2. MDN take is 100% accurate. This HAS to work on the first demo, and the responsible person’s head should roll. The Android sufferers have been squealing with glee across the internet that it failed.

  3. The snafu was inconsequential IMHO. Folks will always try to make a big to-do about something broken at Apple and it almost never turns out to be as big or bad as implied.

    I’m not terribly excited about face ID but I also don’t have any concern that it doesn’t work as intended. Has anyone read about Steve’s initial demo of the original iPhone? The device didn’t even work – it was mickey’d enough that they knew how to not cause it to fail/crash. That minor little “whoopsie” by Craig is a non-story. That said, we will probably hear about it endlessly.

  4. I believe Pogue is incorrect. If the iPhone had been restarted prior to Federighi’s use it would have said something like, ” Your passcode is required after a restart.”

    It’s more likely someone other than Federighi had lifted the phone twice and had not been recognized. After two failed attempts, Face ID requires the passcode with the message as quoted, “Your passcode is required to enable Face ID”.

    It’s also possible, of course, that Face ID still has bugs and needs to be finalized. Touch ID got better with each software/hardware iteration and it’s safe to assume Face ID will also.

    1. no isn’t the first statement correct?

      this IS the first FACE ID demo (as Face ID is an Apple trademark isn’t it?). The other facial recognition systems aren’t called Face ID…

  5. While it would be nice if it were a perfect world, and nothing ever went wrong, demos would always work perfectly, Windows wouldn’t blue screen, PC’s would not lockup, but to assume that someone should be fired, is just dumb. MDN makes loads of mistakes here and some of their shining examples of opinion are extremely lame This being one of them.

    We really don’t know if someone restarted it before the demo, we don’t know if the message on screen was the result of a restart or previous failures to do a recognition.. I don’t think Craig was going to type in a pass-code to get that demo unit going, even if he knew the code. Its why they have “backups” if both had failed, that would have been a significant issue, but it didn’t happen and other reports I’ve read seem to indicate that Face ID works flawlessly.

    Touch ID is NOT perfect either, it can take in some cases several stabs at unlocking one’s iPhone in various situations, Course the one thing I am confident of, its secure..

    1. Bingo. Touch ID doesn’t work if my hands happen to be a little sweaty or wet or timeouts, etc. However as someone who has done literally thousands of software demos, you make certain shit works in these situations. You’re Apple and well aware of timeouts, misrecognitions, etc. You turn that shit off or make damn sure somehow it doesn’t happen.

      This will blow over soon but unnecessary egg on their face for what should of been a flawless presentation of a new technology. You’re Apple, not Microsoft guys.

  6. Remember AntennaGate? How it was supposed to Doom Apple?

    It works both ways though. We should not be too “excited” with glitzes other companies make.

    There’s so much hate and arrogance on “both” sides of the Apple and non-Apple users. I was there once. I stopped participating in the forums for quite awhile.

    CGC

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