Report: Apple Reduced Face ID Accuracy to Allow iPhone X Production

From PC Mag: Ever since the iPhone X was revealed we've heard reports of how limited availability is expected to be. Now the reason why there will be so few iPhone X available at launch is slowly being revealed, albeit by industry insiders who don't want to be named.

According to Bloomberg, the major hold up for iPhone X production isn't the OLED screen, although supplies have been limited. The biggest problem is Face ID and the components it requires to function.

The 3D sensor used for Face ID sits at the top of the handset and consists of three main components: a dot projector, a flood illuminator, and an infrared camera. Together they highlight the face (flood illuminator), detect the presence of a face (infrared camera), and ID the face using 30,000 projected dots (dot projector).

The dot projector uses a vertical cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) made of gallium arsenide, which sits behind a glass lens. Both components are quite fragile, especially when you consider how thin they are. Making something so small, so complex, and so fragile at mass production speed means overcoming lots of problems.

Initial yields of usable Face ID components were thought to be as low as 20 percent coming out of LG Innotek and Sharp. Apple apparently responded to that by lowering the specification for Face ID and therefore the accuracy, which in turn made the components easier to manufacturer and yields increased. It is unknown how much lower the accuracy of the system is, but Apple says there is a "one in a million chance" of defeating it.

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