Last week’s Apple event was historic for several reasons. It was the first Apple press conference to be held at Apple’s new campus in the Steve Jobs Theater. More importantly, however, it marked the tenth anniversary of Apple’s original iPhone, and the company unveiled the most radical new design we’ve seen since that first iPhone was unveiled in 2007. The iPhone X is unlike any smartphone Apple has ever created before, and according to Apple it’ll set the bar for smartphones for the next 10 years. We’re not so sure about that, but we are sure that the iPhone X marks a huge step forward for the iPhone line in terms of both design and functionality.
Despite the fact that the iPhone X was Apple’s “one more thing” last week, the company spent plenty of time discussing the phone on stage in Cupertino last Tuesday. Of course, Apple could’ve spent 6 hours talking about the phone and there still wouldn’t have been enough time to cover everything. But there is one thing in particular that Apple executives didn’t discuss, and it’s going to have a huge impact on the iPhone X user experience.
Do you remember what the iPhone 5s was like after Apple first introduced Touch ID? Yes, there were a few bumps in the road as some people had difficulties getting it to work consistently. But we’re talking about the narrow availability of the technology itself. Most people would use Touch ID to unlock their iPhones and then, well, that’s it.
Fast-forward to 2017, and Touch ID is everywhere. Any decent app iOS app with a need for secure authentication has integrated Touch ID at this point. Can you imagine having to start from scratch with Face ID? It wouldn’t be quite as bad as it was when Touch ID started from scratch back in 2013, since developers now see how important it is to adopt Apple’s authentication APIs. But it would still be a pain because these things do take time.
Well, we have some good news: You don’t have to imagine starting from scratch.
During an interview with Daring Fireball’s John Gruber, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi dropped in an interesting and important tidbit that someone caught on Reddit. In a nutshell, Face ID will “just work.” Thanks to the way Apple implemented Face ID in iOS 11, any app that currently makes use of Touch ID for authentication will automatically work with Face ID. There will be no work needed on the developer’s part, so users won’t have to wait for Face ID to work with their favorite apps.
As noted on Reddit, you can find the portion of Gruber’s interview that covers this nifty feature at around the 23:40 mark in the latest episode of his podcast.