During Apple’s big event Tuesday, Craig Federighi tried to unlock an iPhone X using Apple’s new face recognition system, Face ID, but something went wrong: The phone asked for a passcode, and Federighi quickly replaced it with another iPhone X, which worked as advertised.
Now, in a statement to Yahoo, Apple has explained what happened during the presentation.
“People were handling the device for the stage demo ahead of time and didn’t realize Face ID was trying to authenticate their face. After failing a number of times, because they weren’t Craig, the iPhone did what it was designed to do, which was to require his passcode,” an Apple rep told Yahoo.
We have no reason to suspect Apple isn’t telling the truth, and the message on the phone’s screen after Federighi tried to Face ID-unlock it confirms Apple’s story.
It’s good news for Apple. Since the iPhone X doesn’t have a fingerprint scanner anymore, users will mostly rely on the Face ID for quick unlocking, and it’s incredibly important that the system is reliable.
Still, the incident highlights just one of many potential issues users may face in daily use — issues that aren’t present on the Touch ID system. If someone that’s not you looks at your phone a couple of times, it’ll get locked and you’ll have to enter a passcode. It’s a minor nuisance, but the fact that it happened to Apple during its presentation means that the company hadn’t thought of it.
There are other potential pitfalls with Face ID, including privacy issues and the weirdness of having the phone scan your face all the time. We’ll know more on how it performs once we get to test the iPhone X.