The pandemic has literally revolutionized our lives, introducing habits that we never thought could enter our daily life. Just think of the things not to forget when we leave the house: a mask has been added to the keys, wallet and smartphone, which helps the community to reduce the risk of contagion and for each of us to move freely both outside and inside. buildings and means of transport.
The mask, however, could also become a "problem": it is certainly secondary, but it has been the subject of discussion between Apple and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority of New York. The latter in fact wrote directly to Tim Cook explaining that those who wear the mask find it more difficult to unlock the iPhone via facial recognition, slowing down the payment procedures via mobile device (to use Apple Pay on the iPhone it is necessary to identify yourself via Face Unlock) .
For this reason, the authorities asked the Cupertino company to make unlocking the smartphone easier and faster even when wearing the mask. Evidently the innovations made with iOS 13.5 for which Face ID automatically bypasses facial authentication by immediately showing the numeric keypad do not seem to be considered sufficient to guarantee quick and smooth procedures. Several users then tend to remove the mask to unlock the smartphone, a behavior that risks contributing to the spread of the virus on subways and buses.
We urge Apple to accelerate the implementation of new technologies and solutions that further protect customers in the age of COVID-19.
reads the letter sent by CEO Patrick Foye. Apple's response was not long in coming:
We are fully committed to continuing to work with MTA to support their efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
If on the one hand there are already solutions to bypass Face Unlock – there is Apple Pay Express Transit, for example – on the other hand it is necessary that Apple find solutions suitable for all other contexts. iOS 13.5 has accelerated the recognition process by immediately showing the keypad as soon as the camera recognizes that the user is wearing the mask, but obviously this is not enough. Will we move on to upper face recognition? Will a solution similar to that proposed by Sensory be adopted, which involves recognition with a mask worn crossed with voice recognition? Or does Apple have any other ideas in mind?