Everyone is wondering just how well the iPhone X is going to perform when it lands, and specifically how well Face ID will work. Even Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has doubts about how well Face ID will function. A report has now surfaced claiming that Apple was forced to reduce the accuracy of Face ID in order to speed up the production of the iPhone X. This comes after another report this week claiming that Apple would only receive half the number of iPhone X smartphones this year that it had planned.
One of the components of the iPhone X said to be slowing the production of the device is the 3D sensing module that powers the TrueDepth camera and Face ID. According to the new report, Apple told suppliers that they could reduce the accuracy of Face ID in order to make the iPhone X easier to build. Some of the production woes that Apple is dealing with reportedly have to do with the 3D sensor, which it itself made of three components including a dot projector, flood illuminator, and infrared camera.
The flood protector shoots out the infrared light that the camera needs to tell when a face is present. That dot projector will then beams 30,000 dots onto the face and the phone then uses that data to unlock the home screen if the dots show an authorized user. According to the report, Apple is having issue making enough of the dot projector modules, which are said to be very fragile.
Word is that Apple's issues with the fragile dot projector were compounded early on when supplier Finisar failed to meet Apple's specs in time for the start of iPhone X production. Suppliers currently providing Apple with dot projectors include LG Innotek and Sharp. At one point in production reports indicate that only 20% of the dot projectors completed were actually usable.
To help alleviate that massive 80% failure rate, the suppliers are said to have slowed production to help increase the yields, thereby slowing overall iPhone X production rates. The report claims, "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."
Right now there is no indication of if the reduction in accuracy will affect the functionality of Face ID. Apple clearly doesn't think the reduced specs will hamper Face ID. The report does claim that a reduction in Face ID accuracy still makes the new tech much more accurate than the existing Touch ID technology. With the new reduced accuracy mandate, LG Innotek has production yields for dot projectors over 50% while Sharp is working to reach that level.