Apple is said to have lowered the requirements it imposed on manufacturers of the system for Face ID to ensure that there are enough parts for the production of the iPhone X. As a result, the accuracy would be slightly lower than initially planned.
The reduction in the specifications Apple had set for the modules for Face ID meant that less time had to be spent on testing them. That improved the speed of production, Bloomberg sources say. It is not known to what extent the precision has decreased. Bloomberg speaks of a minor downgrade.
At the unveiling of the iPhone X in September, Apple claimed there was a one-in-a-million chance that Face ID could unauthorized unlock an iPhone. According to Bloomberg, despite a downgrade, the system is likely still more accurate than TouchID, which would have a one in 50,000 chance of an unauthorized unlock.
Apple would have major problems making enough 3D modules for Face ID. The modules consist of a dot projector, flood illuminator and an infrared camera. The dot projector projects 30,000 dots on a face to recognize the contours. The projector consists of a vertical cavity surface-emitting gallium arsenide laser and a glass lens. The placement of these vulnerable parts would be so tight that a deviation of a few micrometers would cause the system to malfunction.
One of Apple’s suppliers for the laser, Finisar, reportedly failed to meet the requirements in time, leaving Apple dependent on two parties: Lumentum and II-VI. LG Innotek and Sharp were responsible for assembling the dot projectors, but the parts were so fragile that only 20 percent would initially be usable. Partly due to the lowering of the requirements, the yield at LG Innotek would now be above 50 percent, while Sharp is working on achieving this percentage.
A month ago, Foxconn is said to have taken 200 employees off its assembly line for the iPhone X due to a shortage of parts. The shortages of the modules will end in early 2018, according to Bloomberg. Apple will start selling the iPhone X on November 3, while the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus have been on sale since late September. According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, two to three million units of the iPhone X will be ready on November 3, but Apple could ship 25 to 30 million units throughout the quarter.
Update, 19:14: Apple calls the rumor in a statement to TechCrunch “completely false.” The company rarely responds to rumours.