The Barrier-Removal Edition Wednesday, November 22, 2017

What Face ID Means For Accessibility, by Steven Aquino

For one thing, setup is far faster and less taxing. Enrolling in Touch ID is by no means difficult, but it is relatively slow and “precise.” iOS prompts you to move your finger this way and that way, and will bug you when you don’t follow directions. If you’re someone with limited fine-motor skills, getting Touch ID set up can be a literal pain along with being a figurative one.

By contrast, setting up Face ID at least feels more streamlined and less tedious. While moving your head around “like you’re drawing a circle with your face,” as Apple described it to me, can be difficult for individuals with certain gross motor limitations, there is an accessibility option to eliminate that step. (Instead of moving your head around to get the depth map, the system will take a single shot at a fixed angle.) If rolling your head around is impossible or bothersome, Apple has you covered right from within the setup UI. Again, Touch ID is no slouch, but I have found, anecdotally, that setting up Face ID is much simpler and quicker than ever. Surely this is due to Apple having years to study user data and fine-tune BiometricKit.

Beyond setup, another area where Face ID excels is its presence removes a point of friction (the Touch ID sensor) for many disabled users. However accessible Touch ID may be, the fact remains reaching and/or pushing that button is problematic for many. Instead of tactilely authenticating for everything, now all someone has to do is literally look at their phone. It’s no doubt convenient as well, but importantly for accessibility, Face ID is freedom. It’s freedom knowing there’s a better way forward technologically, and freedom knowing there’s less one less possible barrier.

A Year After Pledging Openness, Apple Still Falls Behind On AI, by Davey Alba, BuzzFeed

BuzzFeed News interviews with a dozen AI experts paint a picture of Apple’s artificial intelligence research that shows the company is opening up a bit more — but there is still a disconnect between the academic AI community’s values and Apple’s way of doing business. The company’s obsessive focus on the AI applications in Apple products can make working for the company less desirable to some talented experts who have no shortage of options, researchers said. And that’s bad news for Apple, which faces an uphill battle in attracting the people it needs to become a true frontrunner in AI among the giants of tech.

Apple Acquired Augmented Reality Headset Startup Vrvana For $30M, by Lucas Matney, TechCrunch

TechCrunch has learned that Apple has acquired Vrvana, maker of the Totem headset — which had rave reviews but never shipped.

Apple Research Paper Details LiDAR-based 3D Object Recognition For Autonomous Vehicle Navigation, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

Apple researchers are pushing forward with efforts to bring autonomous vehicle systems to public roads, and last week published an academic paper outlining a method of detecting objects in 3D point clouds using trainable neural networks. While still in its early stages, the technology could mature to improve accuracy in LiDAR navigation solutions.

Ireland Promises Progress In Apple Tax Recovery In Coming Weeks, by Reuters

“We’ve indicated to them (Apple) that we want the escrow account established and we want funds to be paid into the escrow account without further delay,” Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar told parliament.

“We do not want to be in the situation where the Irish government has to take Apple to court because the European Commission is taking the Irish government to court. I think that message is understood and I’d anticipate progress in the coming weeks.”


The Best Journal Apps On iOS, by Christine Chan, AppAdvice

Life is full of amazing memories. Make sure to remember them with these apps.

These Text Expanding Apps Will Make Your Life Easier, by Stephen Hackett, iMore

It's easy to get started in this. Take some common strings of text you use, like your home address or your email address, come up with a shorter version, and you're all set to go.

'Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp' Review - Tom Nook Always Gets His, by Eli Hodapp, TouchArcade

It's a game with over a year of hype behind it, the Nintendo seal of quality stamped on it, and it's from an IP that couldn't be more beloved. I'd recommend everyone giving it a shot, as you can play for quite a long time before hitting any kind of free to play limitations... And who knows, maybe you'll fall in love with the Animal Crossing universe and be one of those people to pick up a 3DS just to play New Leaf.


iOS Background Transfer, by Agnes Vasarhelyi, Topology Engineering

Since it’s critical to be able to upload and download files in this flow, we used to ask users to “stay on this screen” during step 2. That works but it’s not the most premium experience. And when someone’s on a bad network, it gets more and more annoying. We are talking about a few megabytes up and then a few megabytes down, but that translates to minutes on a slower network connection.

Since it “takes forever”, users background the app no matter what you ask from them. They have other stuff to do on their phones, but backgrounding the app when you don’t support background transfer simply causes the transfer to fail.

Swift Code Will Run On Google's Fuchsia OS, by Paul Miller, The Verge

Fuchsia is Google's not-at-all-but-kind-of-secret operating system that's being developed in the open, but with almost zero official messaging about what it's for, or what it's built to replace.

Bottom of the Page

Yes, Face ID correctly identified me even while I was yawning.

Maybe I should be able to tell Face ID to not rquire my attention during the first authentication of the day. Especially since the phone knows it is still in my bedroom, and the sun is not even up yet.


Thanks for reading.