Why Apple made a bad bet on face ID, Chan Choi commentary in Fortune

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Monday, October 30, 2017
New York, NY

Fortune Magazine

Steve Jobs was partly correct when he said, "A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them." By the time Ford (F, +0.66%) sold its first car in 1903, there were no paved roads or gas stations, so consumers wanted faster horses, not cars. Until Starbucks (SBUX, +0.53%) showed there was such a thing as premium coffee, all deli store coffee were considered to be the same. And in 2007, mobile phones didn't really have third-party apps yet, so the Blackberry was the most desired phone—until the iPhone came along, of course.

But, there are still radical innovations that people will scratch their heads over even after they have seen them. Consider Apple's innovative-but-failed products: Pippin game console, Newton PDA, Macintosh TV, G4 Cube, Macintosh Portable, Macintosh TV, Apple Lisa, and so on. Now it seems that the new iPhone X's Face ID feature is on the test.

Facial recognition is already available in other smartphones, tablets, and laptops, with varying degrees of successful implementation. The Face ID is claimed to be the most sophisticated among them, but it will still need further refinements and updates in the coming years to work flawlessly. To get there, Apple has to overcome several hurdles.

Chan Choi is a professor of marketing at Rutgers Business School.

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