Apple calls Bloombeg’s claim that it reduced accuracy of Face ID to meet demand is ‘completely false’

“A Bloomberg report today made claims that Apple had reduced its requirements from suppliers on the accuracy level of Face ID,” Matthew Panzarino reports for TechCrunch. “Apple has issued a statement stating that the report is ‘completely false’ and that it expects Face ID to be the new gold standard of facial authentication.”

The statement from Apple:

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.

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: “The quality and accuracy of Face ID haven’t changed” since when? Since September 12th when the iPhone X was unveiled to the public with Face ID’s stated “1 in a million probability?”

The fact is that Apple could’ve altered their specs during the production process, as is routine, prior to unveiling Face ID. Their statement today does nothing to negate that possibility or, therefore, Bloomberg’s report.

Both Bloomberg‘s report and Apple’s statement can be true.

The salient portions of Bloomberg’s report:

As Wall Street analysts and fan blogs watched for signs that the company would stumble, Apple came up with a solution: It quietly told suppliers they could reduce the accuracy of the face-recognition technology to make it easier to manufacture, according to people familiar with the situation…

Apple is famously demanding, leaning on suppliers and contract manufacturers to help it make technological leaps and retain a competitive edge. While a less accurate Face ID will still be far better than the existing Touch ID, the company’s decision to downgrade the technology for this model shows how hard it’s becoming to create cutting-edge features that consumers are hungry to try…

To boost the number of usable dot projectors and accelerate production, Apple relaxed some of the specifications for Face ID, according to a different person with knowledge of the process. As a result, it took less time to test completed modules, one of the major sticking points, the person said.

It’s not clear how much the new specs will reduce the technology’s efficacy. Eecutives initially announced in September that there was a one in a million chance that an interloper could defeat Face ID to unlock a phone. Even downgraded, it will probably still be far more accurate than Touch ID, where the odds of someone other than the owner of a phone being able to unlock it are one in 50,000.

Apple reduced the accuracy of iPhone X’s Face ID to make it easier to manufacture – October 25, 2017


  1. Clearly Apple lowered the bar for accuracy before the Keynote. What they said in the Keynote is accurate and unchanged: 1 in a million probability of error. If the tech had been easier to produce they would have gone with a higher threshold.

    Apple responded to correct the perception from the Bloomberg article that Apple changed the accuracy since the keynote. They don’t want anyone to think this is a bait and switch situation.

    Incidentally this happens all the time. You hope and ask for x, putting the onus on the manufacturer to figure it out. If they can go beyond x you’re pleased. If they steadfastly cannot get there you re-evaluate and go with Plan B.

    Nothing to see here. Move along.

    1. Indeed exactly what I intimated in the other thread. It is the perception in that report that something exceptional had been done when in truth it was nothing other than the process in any new technology in any business. The exact capabilities of anything new and not off the shelf will always be a balance between the ultimate performance and the time/state of technology available to meet deadlines. If Bloomberg have any evidence it is more than that they should state it but truth is they didn’t present any, yet as we saw from the other thread it is enough to give a totally different perception that the gullible buy into far too easily. Apple was right to object when self promotion and publicity is the priority over true objectivity which sadly Bloomberg seems to be prone to of late.

    2. “Clearly “ ?????????
      How the hell do u know.
      Or u belive what you think its always the truth?

      You dont know ..
      there is no “clearly”

      U are just speculating based in what u feel could be a possibility !

      1. Listen Moron, it is clear you are not an engineer. Because if you were, you would know that this is what happened and the announcement/keynote is the bottom line after all this has happened. Apple has basically said it has not changed since the announcement/keynote. So “clearly” any “rumour” of this nature IS CLEARLY prior activity.

        1. Yet another pure guess/ibelief on your side presented as “clearly” fact.
          It is shocking how some insist on carring on making ignorant comments!

          How the hell do u know for a fact what my background is..?

          Because u read one text that criticized your claim of ‘pure clarity’ on something u have absolutely zero factual information about!?

          Hence im “ clearly” not an engineer!

          And then i am the moron ?

          Get your logic and wordings correct!
          You are speculating on what u ‘believe’ to be the truth .. and presenting it as a ‘Clear fact’
          No engineer worth a penny takes an approach like that to matters ! Or most of us would be dead!

          When u make mistake correct it.. dont gargle it and try harder to sound ignorant.

          I think the word Moron or rather imbecile, which is a step below, applies to u way more!

          We are not discussing engineering here.. we are discussing Bloombegs FUD
          and Apples claims!

          Everything u and bloomt have stated here is pure belief not fact!
          U are not privy of that i formation to state: ‘clearly bla bla bla’
          You have zero factual idea what apple started with and ended up with.

          You are forcing your beliefs as facts.
          Grow up.. like almost half of this country should!

          1. Touch a nerve did we?

            Production engineering practice is universal. You design for perfection, then after real world testing settle for the best results you can get. If those results aren’t good enough to accomplish the goal you go to plan B. In any case you do all this BEFORE you announce the product.

            All of those decisions would have been made when Apple certified its suppliers over a year ago. The changes Bloomberg alluded to DID NOT happen recently and certainly not after the product announcement. That would make Bloomberg’s article wholly without merit.

            So I would agree, anybody that doesn’t understand this basic concept is a moron.

          2. “How the hell do u know for a fact what my background is..?”

            You’re right. Please provide your name and where you got your Engineering degree and where you were employed in an engineering position.

            Then we’ll KNOW the truth.

    3. MDN, you are wrong again. Read your own Take:

      “It’s not clear how much the new specs will reduce the technology’s efficacy. Eecutives initially announced in September that there was a one in a million chance that an interloper could defeat Face ID to unlock a phone. Even downgraded, it will probably still be far more accurate than Touch ID, where the odds of someone other than the owner of a phone being able to unlock it are one in 50,000.”

      Apple is saying that the odds are 1:1,000,000 as it stated September 12. But the statement above describes the purported downgrade as reducing the odds below that level. So the Bloomberg article was not referring to a spec downgrade earlier in the development process. Therefore, if Apple’s statement is correct, the PC Bloomberg’s assertion is incorrect. They cannot both be correct in this case because of the timing of the assertion and the specific wording of the assertion. You are wrong.

      1. Darn it. I am wrong! The 1:50,000 is for Touch ID.

        I hate being wrong. But I hate someone who is unwilling to admit error even more. So I am retracting my statement and admitting error.

        I do believe, however, that the timing of Bloomberg’s article leaves ambiguity regarding when the alleged action occurred, the magnitude of the action, etc. The timing seems calculated to create customer uncertainty and generate web traffic via semi-FUD just prior to the iPhone X retail rollout.

        If Apple says Bloomberg’s report is bogus, then I will give Apple the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise.

        1. Keep telling yourself that. You probably believe it because that story was fed to you ad Infinitum by the “Fair and Balanced” conservative manipulation factory. Hillary is no prize, but the Trumpanzee will go down in history as the most inept, incompetent, inconsistent, untrustworthy, and lying POTUS in the history of this nation. Future generations will look back to the 2016 election and wonder how Americans could have been so damned stupid. The injuries that Trump has already inflicted may take many years to reverse and repair, if that is even possible. Our standing as the leader of the free world has been destroyed. No significant world leader thinks that Trump is trustworthy, or that the word or contract of the U.S. Government is worth a plugged nickel. And that is the truth.

  2. Coincidentally, Bloomberg seems to have “relaxed” their hurdle for declaring something newsworthy. Naturally I heard this from “people familiar with the matter.”

  3. Mdn ..own your F-up rather than put a spin on things..
    Bloombegs article is a hit piece fake news!!

    And u naively and prematurely went along with it..

    Own it when you F-up

    Apple will deliver exactly what they promised they will deliver!

    Any speculation based on Bloombegs bull crap.. is well just Bull Crap !

      1. Bloomberg’s bull crap is a speculation ..
        And its timing proves its motives..
        Its a hit piece!

        Apples comments are facts.

        They will deliver what they promised !

        Any sleculation beyond that is either pure entertainment or manipulation and FUD

      2. Actually, NO!

        Prior to announcement of what the product ACTUALLY is (in this case that it is a 1:1million accuracy) a whole bunch of other decisions are made when engineering a product.

        Many criteria will have a TARGET at the start of the design and a ACHIEVED at the finalization of the design. Face recognition is one such criteria which would have started off with a TARGET of false ID being ZERO. The achieved goal at the end of the design happens to be not ideal….it happens to be 1:1Million. This always happens in Engineering. It is NOT news. To portray it as NEWS is not correct. So, NO, Bloomberg is not right.

        1. Speculations again ranted as ‘clear truth’

          Wake up..
          And read my previous response it will hopefully do u some good!?

          We are not discussing what u or bloomberg believes! Or engineering processes !
          And no not even in the case of debating an engineering process what u “ believe to be true” is not true all the time.
          Many projects start with a clear target and endup achieving that target!

          So stop making blanket statments about facts when they are just your belief!

          We are talking about known ‘facts’

          If u dont know the difference go get yourself a bit of education on the matter!

      3. Actually, no they can’t. (Planet Earth, Northern Hemisphere, Fall begins September 21st) The Bloomberg article mentions that production issues of the components in question became “clearer then ever” in early Fall (after the 21st). After then, “Apple came up with a solution: It quietly told suppliers they could reduce the accuracy”

        A FACT we ALL KNOW and can VERIFY is that Apple introduced the iPhone X on Sept. 12th with the current claimed accuracy specs of 1:1,000,000 and Apple has stated nothing has changed.

        Whether Apple made changes beforehand during preproduction runs to optimize output doesn’t matter in this case. The Bloomberg article portrays Apple recently scrambling to try and do whatever was needed to ramp up production to meet demand.

    1. You still here? Why? Go get luvvy-duvvy with some company who has better products and a better record of getting things right. Your incessant whining would imply there must be many.

    2. I remember Intel having a problem with calculating floating point numbers in their early x86 processors at one time. Maybe some growing pains for A-series processors for Apple?

    3. I just added 1+2+3 on my iPhone 7 Plus using iOS 11.1 and the result was 6, not the claimed 24 from the article. I just did the same on my iPad Pro, result 6. It’s FAKE NEWS FUD.

    1. They had a lot of coverage but primarily in industry rags since for more general calculations it was fine. The more common news/info sources more of less ignored it. Apple’s may seem to have more coverage due to the info sources being more consumer oriented as well as the number of devices that may be affected.

  4. C’mon, MDM, pull your heads out of your butts! It certainly is routine for manufacturing specs to be altered. Clearly the implication of the Bloomberg story is that Apple reduced the accuracy requirements post-introduction. And clearly Apple is responding to that implication, so it doesn’t make sense to accuse Apple of playing word games here.

  5. “Apple lowered Face ID component specifications to make iPhone X easier to produce”

    Bloomberg may be correct in that at some point (over the last year?) Apple may have opted to use components with lower specifications than they had originally hoped. That happens all of the time. (Think about processors, you can’t make enough chips that work at a given clock speed, you lower the clock speed before you decide what clock speed the computer will ship with.)

    Apple’s statement is likely correct on three fronts. They haven’t changed the specification since they started manufacturing, they haven’t changed the specification since the keynote presentation, and they certainly have never changed the specification of the branded public-facing feature called “Face ID” (which almost certainly has only ever had exactly one spec.)

    1. “Bloomberg’s claim that Apple has reduced the accuracy spec for Face ID is completely false…”

      Notice what Apple is refuting is that the Face ID spec was changed. Apple did not and would not have changed the spec for the branded public-facing Face ID feature. But then that’s not exactly what Bloomberg claimed.

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