Though facial recognition has existed for quite a while, as tends to be the case, consumers truly didn’t start caring about it until Apple implemented it in the iPhone.  The real question everyone had on their minds after it seemed apparent that it was really good at facial recognition ceased being, “Does FaceID work?” and morphed into, “Is FaceID better than TouchID?”

SciFi taught us that iris scanning was the future. I guess we’ll see about that.

I think a lot of the problems that FaceID has are a lot of the same problems that TouchID had when it first came out.  TouchID wasn’t the first fingerprint sensor, and people knew that fingerprint sensors before it just outright sucked.  Similarly, most facial recognition software before FaceID also sucked, save for perhaps a few specific implementations of Windows Hello – a feature that I would guarantee very few people use out of the already small set of people that have hardware that supports it.

There are reasons that FaceID is better than TouchID (more secure, works when you have gloves on, more seamless in certain situations), and there are reasons that TouchID is better (multiple fingerprint registration, more seamless in certain situations, works when you have a scarf over half your face).  I think there are barriers that must be overcome no matter the security technology, because security always comes at the cost of convenience.  Why use a passcode, TouchID, or FaceID in the first place when it’s so much easier to just pull out your phone and have it already unlocked?

Samsung’s implementation of facial recognition has been markedly poor, but they do include both biometric options on their phones.  OnePlus also has both options on the 5T, and from what I’ve read/seen, the facial recognition is pretty darn fast.  But, alas, it only uses the front-facing camera, so in low light, or if you put on glasses/a hat, you’re probably going to have to fallback on the fingerprint scanner.  Without depth-scanning like FaceID has, the 5T won’t be able to properly authenticate you unless your face pretty much always looks the same.  I’m not sure if it learns like FaceID does, but either way, it does have a fallback option that’s still easier than typing in a passcode.

FaceID, of course, does not have a fallback option.  I would never expect Apple to put some sort of hybrid biometric authentication in a device, because that is almost essentially admitting that customers either a) won’t like one of them or b) one of them doesn’t work that well.  Apple is always very adamant that every feature is great, period.

I’ve heard a mixed bag of feedback on FaceID, but most of it seems to be relative to TouchID.  That is, “TouchID sure does work better when I _______,” but then that feedback completely glosses over the fact that FaceID works better when ______.  So, fill out the blanks as you please.  I’d say “am lying in bed,” and “authenticating within apps,” respectively.

Personally, I don’t think one of these is technologies is definitively better.  There are pros and cons to both, and while it would be nice if both were included, some manufacturers – like Apple – just aren’t going to do it.

Now, when can I have FaceID in my MacBook?



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