The Authenticating-Everyone Edition Thursday, September 14, 2017

Apple Explains What Exactly Happened When Face ID ‘Failed’ During iPhone X Demo, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple explained that the demo iPhone X had been handled by several people before being setup at the demo table for Craig Federighi. Face ID had tried to authenticate the faces of everyone who handled the device, and after failing, the iPhone X moved to require a passcode. Thus, when Federighi went to demo Face ID, the iPhone X was already in passcode mode.

Face ID, Touch ID, No ID, PINs And Pragmatic Security, by Troy Hunt

More than anything though, we need to remember that Face ID introduces another security model with its own upsides and downsides on both security and usability. It's not "less secure than a PIN", it's differently secure and the trick now is in individuals choosing the auth model that's right for them.

Customers' Desires

Down On Apple's Farm With The Rest Of The Press, by Mat Honan, BuzzFeed

No other person or entity, no politician or even Hollywood franchise is so able to so fully peel away the layers of our daily reality in service to engineered desire. This is Apple's specialty. Its entire purpose is to make you pay attention to it; to make you want it. And it is very, very good at that. This was so fully on display Tuesday that it's worth examining, and understanding.

The Lessons And Questions Of The iPhone X And The iPhone 8, by Ben Thompson, Stratechery

I don’t know if Apple can segment the iPhone market; what has been shown is that they can’t, that the iPhone can only be the best, nothing less.

The Future Of Retail Is Stores That Aren’t Stores, by Joe Pinsker, The Atlantic

Retailers are, very consciously, promoting these in-store “experiences”—or at least, they are doing so at the flagship stores in big cities that they like to draw attention to. It’s a reaction to the fact that buying is now something that can be done anywhere, and that reaction can be detected in a linguistic shift. “There is no question that people are trying to get away from the use of the word store as well as mall,” says Leonard Schlesinger, a professor of management at Harvard Business School. “They are increasingly perceived as remnants of a retail world which is increasingly under siege.” Schlesinger thinks companies with physical stores will have trouble if they don’t adjust to the fact that the internet has taken away many consumers’ reasons for visiting physical locations in the first place.


A Visit To Apple Park, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

The fact is, the Steve Jobs Theater and the entire Apple Park campus are Apple products. Of course they look like Apple Stores. Of course they have custom-designed stone staircases and beautiful wood furniture. When you’re a company that has built its entire identity around design and style, from hardware to software to the contents of retail stores, it’s awfully hard to just build a glass office tower and call it a day. If you’ve ever imagined what an Apple Store would look like if it sprawled over 175 acres, well, it’s called Apple Park.

Welcome To The Steve Jobs Theater, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

The hands-on area looked beautiful, and the retractable wall is a nifty architectural trick. It looks like the wall is supposed to be there when the area is closed, and looks like there couldn’t be a wall there when the area is open. Several Apple employees I spoke with were particularly proud of the hands-on area. “Isn’t the hands-on area beautiful?” was an ice-breaking question I was asked in several conversations. Indisputably, the answer is yes. It’s beautiful. But from a practical standpoint it was the worst hands-on area I’ve seen at an Apple event. It was incredibly crowded, and nearly impossible to get your hands on any of the new iPhones, especially the iPhone X. There were way, way too few units available for the number of guests. An hour after the show had ended, the crowds were still three-deep around the sample tables. As a hands-on area after a major product introduction, this room fails the “design is how it works” test.

Photos: What It Was Like To Attend Apple’s iPhone X Event — Its First At The Steve Jobs Theater, by Dan Frommer, Recode

I was in attendance yesterday and took hundreds of photos. Here’s my experience, as told through a few dozen.

More FaceIDs

Face ID And The Mac, by Stephen Hackett, 512 Pixels

I think a lot of people want Touch ID on the Mac without the Touch Bar. Face ID could deliver the same benefits without the baggage of the Touch Bar. I, for one, would love to see biometric authentication come to Macs without it.

Font ID

Meet The Font Detectives Who Ferret Out Fakery, by Glenn Fleishman, Wired

Detecting fraud via fonts isn’t as sexy as sleuthing art forgery; it often involves tedious measurements with digital calipers, examinations under loupes and microscopes, charts that track the slight differences between two versions of the Times Roman face, or evidence that a particular form of office printer didn’t exist at the document’s dated execution.

Even so, such measurements can be worth millions—and can even be lucrative, for the handful of experts (maybe a dozen) who have hung out a font-detective shingle. Phinney had an expert declaration filed last month as part of a lawsuit against Justin Timberlake,, their labels, and others. The suit is about a sample used in Timberlake’s 2006 "Damn Girl," but the case might hinge on the size and clarity of the type on Timberlake’s CD cover. (How could that be? Read on.)


Apple Releases urBeats3 Earphones With New Design, by Dani Deahl, The Verge

Apple says the earphones feature a “fine-tuned acoustic design” with an axial-aligned driver as well as secure-fit wingtips and magnetic earbuds.

How To Set Up A Robust Web Reading Environment, by Chris Bowler, The Sweet Setup

With all this in place, Instapaper and Pinboard are my primary tools (with IFTTT greasing the wheels in places), and share extensions and bookmarklets covering the remaining gaps. Being mindful of my different reading activities helps me to remember the primary purpose of each tool.


Apple Wants Appmakers To Avoid The Notch When Designing For iPhone X, by The Next Web

With this in mind, the Cupertino giant instructs appmakers to “ensure that layouts fill the screen and aren’t obscured by the device’s rounded corners, sensor housing, or the indicator for accessing the Home screen.”

Among other things, this includes making sure that interactive controls don’t appear at “at the very bottom of the screen and in corners,” that the interface doesn’t bring attention to the device’s rounded corners, and that the user interface isn’t clipped by the notch.

Apple Watch Apps Head To College, by David Smith

I am now thinking about my watchOS apps as though they must be able to fully function out on their own with only minimal help and supervision from their iPhone. If they don’t, I suspect I’ll find them to be quite frustrating.

While previously there have been technical capabilities where watchOS apps could connect to external services without their iPhone present, the expectation I think has always been that this would be rare and unusual. Now it may very well be common and expected.

Removing The White Bars In Safari On iPhone X, by Stephen Radford

The new iPhone X features a beautiful edge-to-edge display. Well, almost. There is the small issue of a notch at the top of the browser which doesn't cause an issue when viewing websites in portrait but by default does cause some issues in landscape.


Thankfully there are two simple fixes that can be made to solve this letterboxing.

Bottom of the Page

What is iPhone 8's purpose in life?


Coming in 2018: iPhone 9, iPhone 9 Plus, iPhone XI
Coming in 2019: iPhone 10, iPhone 10 Plus, iPhone XII
Coming in 2020: iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Plus, iPhone XIII



Thanks for reading.