Face ID out, “Apple Ring” in! Google may have the secret to the next massive iPhone innovation?

When Apple first introduced its advanced 3D face unlock technology as part of the iPhone X in 2017, there was a lot not to like…

Face ID was slower to unlock your iPhone than Touch ID; it didn’t work if you looked at your phone from an angle, and it took up a ton of space, giving the iPhone a cosmetic makeover, resulting in the iconic notch. Still, Face ID wasn’t the one sole reason why I sold my iPhone XS and iPhone XR in 2019 before switching to the Huawei P30 Pro, but it also wasn’t one of the reasons why I would keep using one of Apple’s 2018 iPhones.

Therefore, of course, I had some reservations before ordering mine iPhone 13 mini earlier this year. I was used to the convenience of the iPhone 8 old but gold fingerprint sensor, and while slow, the The Pixel 6 Pro’s optical scanner also allowed me to unlock my phone when it was on a table.

However, it turns out that Face ID has gotten better over the years! Not only is it faster to recognize my face, but it also does so from more (strange) angles. Plus, the notch is now smaller (even gone on the iPhone 14 Pro series), which makes it feel like I’m giving up less screen real estate to have this handy security feature.

So Face ID is perfect – end of story. Bye.

Well not really… Apple’s facial recognition technology still has some notable limitations that take away from the “it just works” factor that Tim Cook & Co loves so much. But then… What comes after Face ID? The return of Touch ID? Or something completely different? You know what… Google might have the answer!

Face ID is the “magic Apple technology” everyone loves…when it works (which isn’t 100% of the time)

As mentioned at the beginning, Face ID managed to convert me. But that doesn’t make it perfect…

In fact, I think my willingness to accept Face ID or even tolerate it’s largely due to my sheer appreciation for the iPhone 13 mini – mainly due to how compact this phone is, which is what makes it so unique to me.

Of course, the technical improvements Apple has made to Face ID have also helped, but facial recognition is far from perfect…

  • Face ID still won’t unlock your phone if you’re wearing a headgear that covers both your eyes and the rest of your face
  • While Face ID works with face masks, it takes significantly longer to read your face (if at all)
  • Due to the limited angular range of Apple’s 3D unlock system, you still can’t unlock your phone if it’s on a desk
  • With Face ID, it’s a bit tricky to unlock your phone when you’re moving quickly, like when you’re jogging outside or on a treadmill
  • Even when Face ID can’t read your face, there’s a lack of instant response to let you know to correct your position, resulting in having to type in your PIN (like a caveman!)

If Touch ID doesn’t come back, what will come after Face ID for Apple’s iPhone? Google hides the answer!

Right! If Face ID isn’t perfect, fast enough, and reliable enough, what other option do Apple and the rest of the phone makers have to let you unlock your phone, make payments, etc.? What other options do we, the users, have? Well, maybe the answer is part of something called “ambient commuting”…

If you’re a phone enthusiast, the easiest way to understand Ambient Computing is to look at some Google is doing something with something we all know and love: the Google Assistant!

The Google Assistant started as Google Voice Search, went through Google Now (a less smart version of AI intelligence aimed at predicting user behavior), and it’s now the smartest virtual assistant, at least among those available to consumers.

Thanks to Google’s extensive data collection and powerful machine learning algorithms, the Google Assistant is an integral part of the company’s current and future Ambient Computing, practically holding together the whole idea of ​​”multiple computers talking to each other” .

That’s why in 2016 Sundar Pichai & Co launched not only the first Pixel phone with Google Assistant on board, but a whole range of devices with the virtual robot: the Pixel Buds, Google Home, the Nest Hub, etc.

The future of Face ID could be… “No ID” – could an “Apple Ring” be the answer to future phone security?

Anyway, the reason I’m going through this whole Google talk is because Google and Apple are the two companies that have the hardware, software, and most importantly, the database to create this Ambient Computing future that allows our technology to interact behind the scenes to make things like finding a song, a trivia fact, or unlocking your phone as seamless as possible.

That’s why I believe the future of secure phone unlocking is that we should do as little as possible to unlock our phones. Or rather do nothing.

Those of you who own an Apple Watch (I don’t) and an iPhone would know that the iPhone doesn’t need Face ID to let you unlock it when it’s near your Apple Watch. So in a sense, Ambient Computing is already happening around us – it’s doing exactly what it’s meant to do – reducing our inputs to get things done.

Unlock your phone using Apple Ring and Google Ring as part of Ambient Computing

The real challenge for Apple and Google would be finding a way to unlock your phone and make secure purchases even when you’re not wearing your smartwatch or when you’re out of the house surrounded by other Apple or Google devices that talk to each other to let you access your phone based on location (Android already does that).I have thought about itand there is not a single object that people wear or carry around that can be used as the center of this Ambient Computing thing. Sure, some wear their watch all the time (even to bed), but others, like me, don’t. And some will have a Google Nest Hub or a Home Pod at home, but others (like me) won’t.

What about an Apple Ring / Google Ring?

We’ve heard rumors of something like this before, but it was never more than wishful thinking. To be honest, I realize that what I’m doing now isn’t all that different either. But how complicated can it be, really!

Google managed to shrink the 100GB Google Assistant down to just 0.5GB, allowing the company to turn the virtual robot into something that lives on your Pixel phone, earbuds or tablet, rather than having to exist in the cloud. Apple, on the other hand, has been putting PC-worthy chips in its iPhones and super-sophisticated tiny processors in its AirPods for centuries.

So I’m confident we do could having a ring, a necklace, or any other wearable accessory that could become the centerpiece of Apple’s or Google’s ecosystems and talking to our phone, allowing us to unlock it without even thinking about it.

Of course, that’s not even scratching the surface! The icing on the cake would be that a smart ring would have plenty of other uses – maybe to monitor your health or, who knows – let you get in your car and start it?

That is, if Apple and Google don’t immediately switch to… chip implants? That way you won’t lose your ring. Am I right?