Much like the expectations of The Terminator’s computer-based ancestor, Skynet, many looked upon the release of Apple’s iPhone X as the beginning of a new future – a future that would be simplified by an intricately connected electronic device. With much fanfare the curtain rose, and what ensued soon became less Hollywood blockbuster and more like a Sci-Fi plot line gone wrong.
Scene 1: Phone Won’t Answer Calls
In the opening scene, we watch as the first users of the iPhone X bring their devices home, very excited to have the latest and greatest technology in the palm of their hand. They flip playfully between banking and shopping apps. They take selfies and post them on their favorite social media apps with glee.
Then one user is on a social media app chatting about her mother being in the hospital and not doing well. Suddenly, the phone rings. The caller ID shows that it’s the hospital where her mother is staying. She waits for the device to switch over to the phone app so she can answer the call. She can see her sick mother with a nurse holding a phone to her ear, but instead of being able to answer the call, the phone just rings…and rings…and rings…
We watch the girl frantically try to answer the call, but nothing she does will bring up the phone on her device and it’s too late.
News of the iPhone X failing to switch over to calls begins to surface in December. The cause still isn’t clear, and no amount of troubleshooting or rebooting seems to resolve the issue. As though it were part of a film, Apple tells the media they are, “looking into these reports,” but issues no software fix.
Scene 2: Face ID
The same troubled iPhone X user is visibly upset about not being able to speak with her mother, so she goes to order flowers. But first, she wants to check her bank account balance.
The login screen for the banking app comes up, and she holds her iPhone X in front of her to allow the new Face ID to log her in. It isn’t recognizing her, however. She tries moving the device so it gets her face from other directions, but nothing seems to work. Finally, she lets out a sigh of relief as the app accepts her Face ID, but that relief soon turns to pained astonishment as she sees her bank account has a zero balance! She’s been completely wiped out.
The scene dissolves to a run-down apartment where a woman – her bitter, estranged twin – is on her own iPhone X. She has used Face ID to get into her sister’s bank account and has transferred all of the money from it over to an untraceable account.
When using an iPhone X, Face ID automatically replaces Touch ID as the biometric security measure for logging onto apps, because the iPhone X does not have a thumbprint sensor. But even though the 3D facial identification on the iPhone X is incredibly advanced, many banks are concerned over reports that children have been able to access their parents’ accounts using Face ID. A hacker in Vietnam was even able to access a total stranger’s account by creating an elaborate, look-a-like mask.
Apple issues patches but tells the public, “the next software update will resolve these issues.” However, to truly resolve these issues, Apple will have to change the way they design and run software on the iPhone.
But will it?
All kidding aside, the iPhone X is not part of some diabolical plot, but it does have some serious security and performance issues, which likely reside deep inside the software that runs the phone itself and all the applications downloaded from the app store. This software, like so much software today, was probably rushed out the door to keep Apple first-to-market.
In today’s digital world, we cannot overlook the importance of software – and the critical nature of its security and resiliency. We can do great things with software, but we cannot allow it to put us as risk.
To combat “bad software,” we must gather Software Intelligence to understand the architectural structure of that software dictating how applications run on the phone. Software Intelligence helps software engineers, architects and even non-technical users better understand the health of the software that powers our lives.
With Software Intelligence, companies like Apple can make smart and efficient steps to fix critical functionality issues for products like the iPhone…that is everything except for the iPhone’s frame catching on people’s hair. Not much a software fix can do about that!