iPhone X

iPhone X

I am an unashamed Apple person. I consider myself a relative power user, but have never had very many bad hiccups with their ecosystem. The hiccups I have had were either resolved fairly quickly or my own user error. I don’t tend to be an early adopter either, but I had to take my MacBook Pro in for repairs. While waiting I discovered I could upgrade and when forced to forgo my laptop for a week as it was sent out for the repair, the upgrade seemed appropriate.


I was dubious about the iPhone X, though. FaceID seemed great, but I saw a very large security issue in a social/naturalistic sense. FaceID ‘just works’ for me. It can unlock with or without glasses, even. Shortly after I set my FaceID up, I broke an arm of my glasses. The glasses didn’t have hinges, but instead used a tensile bend. Fixing that is nearly impossible, so the repair involved replacing both arms with hinged ones. FaceID didn’t care about this difference. The only issue I’ve had with it is I tend to wear larger/darker nonprescription sunglasses while driving. This change is too big for FaceID.

Here’s a thought on this, though: What if that was intentional? iOS already has a do not disturb while driving feature. I’m hardly the only one with glasses, or even without, that wears different shades while driving either. Whether intentional or not, this FaceID fail seems to help people from playing with their phone while driving. ┬áthis is not the security issue I’m concerned about, however.


Unwilling Unlock

I only describe an avenue here, and am speaking as an experience designer who in the regular course of experience evaluations comes to nuances like this.

Here’s the scenario in my head: a threatening figure has bound a victim and has taken their iPhone X from them in order to delete a recording of the assailant’s objectionable behavior. The recording can be anything: audio, video, still image, et al. The behavior can be objectionable in any number of ways: moral, ethical, even down right illegal, etc. With the victim bound, what is to stop the perpetrator from showing the phone to the defenseless victim in order to unlock it?

This issue becomes more intense if the perpetrator is a figure of authority. I am a professor and also live in an area that has recently been a focal point for racial conflict, police brutality, riots, and the like. Additionally, news stories exist of other authority figures taking pains to control those under them if the authority figure realizes they’ve been caught in bad behavior. Think of a situation of a involving a teacher making a racial slur, a student recording it, and then that teacher commandeering the phone in a fashion to remove the recording. Rights violations and likelihood of these scenarios occurring aside, it is possible. With the fluidity of FaceID’s functionality, it could happen quickly.

Machine Learning

Designers are increasingly at the forefront of various technologies and the new mainstreaming of AI is no different. I don’t work with it too directly yet, nor do I think it’s all that visible in the iPhone X. Maybe that’s the point? Much of apples visual and industrial design focus comes from obfuscating/hiding volume and functionality, so it makes sense Apple takes this approach with software too. Their consideration of the physical in this regard is enormous and as example one can look the foot and support of the current iMacs versus years back on their LED cinema displays. The food is not tapered to a thin edge on those displays, but is on the iMacs. This hides the volume.

Hiding functionality, or intense computation, comes from deep integration. The more software is interconnected with other software, functional separation becomes less distinct. I don’t know that I’ve experienced the neural engine in the phone as much as I may be able too. If it is deeply integrated, though, I may not notice that I’m using it all the time.

Machine Learning

Machine Learning Circle? I don’t know, I thought it was interesting.

More Gadgets

In the recent passed I’ve upgraded a few pieces of equipment, and as a ‘power user’ need much more extensive things than others might. Namely, drawing on an iPad has become a joy, but now it’s a frustration. I could get technical about the tracking of my powered stylus and all that, but I won’t. suffice to say, I’ve drawn with an Apple Pencil on an iPad Pro and it’s a amazing. I’ve seen various friends with Apple Watches, and they get used pretty effectively. I want these things but it’s an affordability choice. It is also a creative/business choice. I do want the ‘latest and greatest’ but not because it’s new. Also, I want it because I know I can use it to make my professional practice and creative endeavors more effective, efficient, engaging, and fun (for me).

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