Culture

The New Face-Scanning iPhone Is Here, And The Internet Has Thoughts

RIP home button.

The futuristic new iPhone X was unveiled this morning, and it’s genuinely, pants-shittingly terrifying.

For one, it can recognise your face. It also has no home button, just a massive expanse of screen you will absolutely shatter in the first 20 minutes of holding the damn thing (Apple says it’s “the most durable glass ever” but honestly, who among us hasn’t met a phone they can’t smash). Oh, and it costs over $1,000, so of course people have already started tweeting about selling their organs to afford it.

Of course, the hefty price tag does come with some sick new features. For example, you can now animate the poo emoji with your own facial expressions, which is a huge leap forward if you’re into expressing what a piece of shit you are.

It can also charge wirelessly, which is pretty cool, and its battery will last longer. There’s still no headphone jack though (RIP), so your tunes will also need to be wireless. All the other stuff you’d expect to be slightly better in a new phone is, as expected, slightly better — nicer “Super Retina” display, more (and better) cameras and so on.

And then there’s a whole face recognition thing, which has whipped Twitter into a bit of a frenzy. The X does away with Touch ID by jettisoning the home button entirely. Instead, you’ll be able to unlock your phone by looking at it instead.

People naturally have a lot of questions about the face recognition — can someone unlock your phone by pointing it at your face while you’re sleeping, for example, or will the face recognition tech have a crappy racial bias? How easy is it for someone to fake your face?

One of the most pressing concerns is one that also surfaced regarding Touch ID’s fingerprint login. Can police or kidnappers force you to unlock your phone by holding it up to your face? There’s a good article here addressing most of these concerns in as much detail as we have so far, which is mostly just taking Apple’s word for it. It’s not something to panic about, but the privacy implications are definitely worth your consideration.

Honestly, though, if you don’t need to animate your poo emoji, and just want a phone that fits in your hand/pocket/life, has a headphone jack, and doesn’t require the sale of a kidney, maybe the best and most overlooked news today is that the iPhone SE (the revamped iPhone 5) will not only continue, but just got cheaper.