Sharp-eyed viewers of the Apple press conference announcing the iPhone X noticed a small hiccup on stage. When Apple Vice President Craig Federighi came on stage to demo Face ID, it failed.
According to Apple’s presentation, Face ID uses several sensors on the front of the iPhone X to read the user’s face, recognize them and unlock the phone. Previous presenter Phil Schiller said the feature would even work in the dark with an infrared camera.
However, when Federighi tried to unlock the demo iPhone with his face, it did not work. He picked up the backup demo iPhone, saying, “Let’s go to backup here.”
This phrase was immediately mocked by Twitter, as things are when they fail in literally their first public demonstration.
However, that failure may not be the fault of Face ID. The Verge pointed out the phone showed the message, “Your passcode is required to enable Face ID.” A similar message is shown when an iPhone with Touch ID is rebooted - the phone makes the user enter the full password at least once before it accepts biometric security.
Face ID may not have failed. What may have happened is the demo iPhone was rebooted before the show and needed the full passcode to be input before Face ID would work again.
Still, it was an awkward moment for a company trying to sell the public on a new form of biometric security in place of the longstanding (and proved reliable quantity) Touch ID.