Among the many new features of Apple's (AAPL) iPhone X is face identification technology that allows users to to unlock the smart phone and even to make payments or access a third-party app such as E-Trade (ETFC) .
Apple engineers used a billion images to build the neural network that the company says is many times more secure than finger print ID technology. Given recent difficulties that Samsung (SSNLF) has had with facial ID technology, some users may require convincing.
Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, said there is a one-in-a-million chance that a random person could trick your iPhone X, a significant improvement over the one-in-50,000 chance someone could unlock your iPhone with his or her fingerprint.
After the recent breach at Equifax (EFX) , CreditCards.com analyst Matt Schulz suggested in a note, Apple's approach involves some risk. Even though Equifax's breach had nothing to do with facial recognition technology, the exposure of 143 million records, including Social Security numbers and other data, has many people concerned. "That debacle has put data security front and center in people's minds," Schulz wrote. "If Apple's facial recognition tool proves to be significantly flawed, it could really damage Apple's hopes for Apple Pay expansion."
Apple developed a complex camera system to view a face in depth, which presumably would help it distinguish an actual face from a flat picture. The system includes an infrared camera, a projector that shoots out 30,000 infrared dots, a proximity sensor and other features to create "a mathematical model for your face," in Schiller's words. Apple worked with Hollywood mask makers and makeup artists to teach the iPhone X how to catch attempts at deception.
As impressive as the system is, CreditCards.com's Schulz suggested in may not result in people using Apple Pay more often. "Surveys have shown that many Americans are wary of mobile payments because of security fears, but the truth is that Apple Pay and their competitors already are more secure than using plastic," he wrote. "The challenge of changing people's minds about mobile payment security is less about technology and more about education."
Some consumers may be uneasy with the technology. While the facial identification technology in Samsung's Galaxy S8 could be tricked by a photo, Microsoft's (MSFT) Windows Hello technology that uses a 3D camera gets high marks.
Those who doubt Apple's technology could follow the advice that Schiller gave to potential iPhone X users who have an evil twin: use a pass code.
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