iPhone X, FaceID, and using your phone in the car

The new iPhones were released this week. This time around there were three of them: the iPhone 8, iPhone 8+, and iPhone X. While the 8 and 8+ were essentially hardware upgrades to the 7 and 7+, the X was something a little bit different.

Among the improvements were an “edge to edge” screen, better camera, special modes for the camera, and a replacement to the TouchID—FaceID.

What is FaceID? It’s facial recognition software that replaces the previous (and also still current?) TouchID system because, among other things, there is no Home button on the phone, there’s nowhere to scan your fingerprint.

So, what’s the big deal (aside from Microsoft using a similar feature on Windows 8 and 10 computers in lieu of a password)? Well, driving with the phone, of course.

I don’t recommend that any use a phone while driving. Ever. It’s a distraction and can lead to accidents. (At a stop light, in your parking space, or even pulling over to take that call or change that song—not a problem.)

But, people are going to use their phones on the road anyway. So, FaceID poses a problem, doesn’t it?

Because you have to hold your phone in a position that it can read your face in order to unlock the phone, you’re either looking down at your phone, holding it up in front of your face, or turning your face (and eyes) away from the road so that you can look for a song, answer that text, or do something else most likely equally able to wait until you’re not actively driving.

Did Apple think about this at all when it was developing the phone? Is there some sort of safety feature that either disables this or locks your phone from use entirely while driving? The answer to both of these is probably “no”.

Will this make people think twice before trying to use their phone while driving? Also, probably no.

While I think it’s a little weird that they’ve developed a device that is completely unusable while driving (for those people who will think twice before picking their phone up in the car), I can’t tell you that you shouldn’t buy or use a device. All I can really do is hope that you’ll give a little thought to the design and function of the new iPhone with regard to driving.

Another random thought: could this be Apple’s opening into self-driving cars? I mean, this feature only really makes sense, with regard to driving, if you’re not actually driving the car…

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