I really respect Ron Amadeo of Ars Technica, but this article is a real stinker. The headline is “I’m worried that FaceID is going to suck — and here’s why”, but if you look at the URL slug, you’ll notice that the original title was more like “Face ID on the iPhone X is probably going to suck”. The headline may have been toned down after publishing the post, but the thrust of the article remains the same: Amadeo is very convinced that Face ID will be awful. His evidence?
This is not the first phone we’ve tried with a facial recognition feature, and they all have the same problem. It doesn’t matter how fast or accurate Face ID is, the problem is the ergonomics: you need to aim it at your face. This is slow and awkward, especially when compared to a fingerprint reader, which doesn’t have to be aimed at anything.
Similar criticisms were leveled against Touch ID when it was launched: other devices have had fingerprint readers, and they sucked. But Touch ID was different. It was faster, more accurate, and felt more natural. I’m not saying that Face ID will necessarily replicate that success story nor do I have any idea how good it will be other than what attendees have written elsewhere, but I don’t think one can necessarily make the claim that it will “probably suck” either.
Of course, I have not used Face ID, so I cannot say; I am looking forward to trying it out. I thought maybe Amadeo had gone to today’s Apple event and was writing from his experiences there. But in the third-from-final paragraph, he discloses that he hasn’t even tried Face ID yet so he has no idea whether it’s going to be good or crap. Despite this, he’s fairly certain that it won’t be good.
That is why his hot take sucks. And I can say that with confidence, because I’ve read it.