How Apple made the iPhone magical, this week on The CultCast

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The Original iPhone
It was a thing of beauty, but the software made it magical.
Photo: Apple

It’s easy to ignore how intuitive it is to use an iPhone. But a team of designers painstakingly crafted the vast array of simple swipes and taps that give the iPhone its magic.

This week on The CultCast, we’ll tell you the stories behind inertial scrolling and Swipe to Unlock. And we’ll talk about Bas Ording, the man who brought iOS to life using the physics of our natural world.

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The CultCast #291: How the iPhone was made magical

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This week’s links

iPhone 8 will include fewer casing colors, no Touch ID

  • Will Apple manage to successfully embed Touch ID into the OLED display of the iPhone 8, or will it have to follow in the footsteps of Android device makers and opt for a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor?
  • None of the above, claims well-respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a list of predictions he’s made for the next iPhone, Kuo claims Apple will skip Touch ID altogether for its next-gen handset.
  • “We predict the OLED model [iPhone 8] won’t support fingerprint recognition,” Kuo writes. The reasons? The full-screen design doesn’t work with existing capacitive fingerprint recognition, and under-the-display fingerprint recognition tech still isn’t ready.

iPhone 8 might drop Touch ID for 3-D face scanner

  • The iPhone 8 might ditch Touch ID for 3-D facial scanning that could prove faster, easier and more secure than the fingerprint reader currently used for logins and payments.
  • Apple is currently testing the 3-D face-scanning technology in iPhone prototypes that utilize a new 3-D sensor, according to Bloomberg. The new security system could be augmented by eye-scanning technology with the intent of replacing Touch ID, the report adds, citing anonymous “people familiar with the product.”
  • One major production problem Apple faces with the OLED screen iPhone 8 is getting an under-screen fingerprint sensor to work. The technology just isn’t viable yet, according to various rumors, including a recent note from reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities.
  • The reported 3-D facial scanning tech in the iPhone 8 would analyze more data points than the current fingerprint sensor that powers Touch ID, according to Bloomberg, which offered more details on the tech being tested by Apple:
    • “The sensor’s speed and accuracy are focal points of the feature. It can scan a user’s face and unlock the iPhone within a few hundred milliseconds, the person said. It is designed to work even if the device is laying flat on a table, rather than just close up to the face. The feature is still being tested and may not appear with the new device. However, the intent is for it to replace the Touch ID fingerprint scanner, according to the person. An Apple spokesman declined to comment.”

Apple praises ‘unbelievable’ response to ARKit

  • Greg “Joz” Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of product marketing, says developers’ response to ARKit has been “unbelievable.”
  • While he wouldn’t share details about a rumored standalone AR headset Apple has hundreds of engineers working on, Joswiak stressed how the widespread usage of Apple mobile devices has the opportunity to make augmented reality into a mainstream technology overnight
  • Example of cool ARKit
    • Zeph McLearan put an Apple I in his office
    • Mixed reality Minecraft
    • The AR measuring tape
    • AR Kit reality portal

The inside story of the iPhone’s ‘Slide to Unlock’ gesture

  • Who is Bas Ording?
  • One of the key design decisions that Apple’s Human Interface Team made early on while developing the iPhone was to go all in on big, simple gestures. They wanted to make a single, simple swipe accomplish as much as possible.
  • It’s a bit ironic. After investing so much in multitouch technology, which relies on multiple touch inputs, one of Apple’s key edicts was to make as many gestures as possible work with a single finger.
    • “We worked super-hard on multitouch, but then we tried to make everything just work with one finger,” he said laughing.

Other stuff we talked about

Under Review!