During yesterday’s iPhone X demo, Craig Federighi walked across the stage and picked up an iPhone X, with the goal of demonstrating Face ID.
Things did not go as planned. Craig looked at his iPhone X, swiped up, and…nothing. He tried again, and the passcode screen appeared. Craig, being the cool customer he is, picked up a second iPhone X, swiped up, and the demo went smoothly from there.
So what happened? Was this a failure of Face ID?
Take a look for yourself. Head over to the Apple keynote page, and jump to about 1:36:00, the moment when all this unfolded.
To me, the key to this moment was the text on the screen. Here’s a screenshot:
Notice the text towards the bottom:
Your passcode is required to enable Face ID
Looks like a logistics issue. Just as you have to enter your passcode to unlock your phone for the first time after restart (to enable Touch ID), you have to do the same for the iPhone X, to enable Face ID.
I suspect no one entered the passcode after the phone was turned on. Not a failure of Face ID, just a simple logistics fumble.
In addition, this moment showed off Craig Federighi’s excellent stage presence. He handled the moment perfectly.
UPDATE: As a number of people have pointed out, if this was a restart issue, the text would have indicated that. Hoping for clarification from Apple on this, will update if we get more info.