Such is the case with a report that appeared this morning suggesting that Apple told its suppliers to reduce the accuracy of the TrueDepth camera system used for the iPhone X's Face ID system in order to boost device shipments. Apple calls the report "completely false", and provided the following statement in reference to the Bloomberg report:
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.
The original Bloomberg story claimed that the one specific component used in the TrueDepth camera system -- the dot protector -- was experiencing some rather horrible yield numbers. According to the publication's sources, suppliers were getting about a 20 percent yield rate on the part. Bloomberg originally claimed:
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...
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.
For those keeping score, when the iPhone X was unveiled last month, Apple indicated that there was a one in 1,000,0000 chance that another person could unlock your phone with Face ID.
While Apple is refuting that specifications for the TrueDepth camera have been downgraded, it is highly believable that the iPhone X is proving highly difficult to produce. Reports from Apple's various suppliers have suggested that difficulties in producing components for the TrueDepth camera are the reason why Apple will likely only receive 20 million iPhone X smartphones through the end of 2017 to sell to customers instead of 40 million.