Apple is one of the market leaders in the technology industry. The company has successfully established itself as an innovative producer of high-end smartphone devices. The company recently introduced a face recognition technology in its iPhone X model to address the increasing security concerns illustrated by smartphone users. Security and smartphone experts have applauded this new feature pointing out that it provides effective, advanced and reliable protection to smartphone users. Consequently, this analysis assesses Apple’s face recognition technology and its impacts. Moreover, it uses Porter’s five forces model to explain how this technology provides a competitive advantage to Apple over its competitors. Importantly, this analysis outlines five recommendations that Apple should include in its business continuity plan if the firm falls victim to a cyber-attack.
Face recognition: iPhone
The technology sector is one of the most competitive industries in the contemporary business setting. The dynamic nature of this industry obliges companies to be highly creative and imaginative to enhance their market share. Apple is one of the market leaders in the technology industry. The company has successfully established itself as an innovative producer of high-end smartphone devices. In the wake of the Android operating system wave, Apple has emerged as a resilient smartphone manufacturer opting to stick to its unique iOS operating system. Recently, Apple introduced a face recognition technology in its iPhone X model to address the increasing security concerns among smartphone users. Consequently, this analysis assesses Apple’s face recognition technology and its impacts. Moreover, it uses Porter’s five forces model to explain how this technology provides a competitive advantage to Apple over its competitors.
Currently, smartphones are the most used personal computers in the modern society. The last decade has seen an explosion in mobile device usage. According to Maria and Nappi (2014), mobile phones are no longer just phones, but a complete online client system that is capable of executing sophisticated mobile applications. For instance, mobile phone users can use their smartphones for activities such as online banking and shopping. Therefore, the integration of a reliable face recognition into the smartphone devices has the potential to offer alternative solutions to an increasingly insecure technological world.
Apple’s face recognition is a form of biometric authentication which operates similarly to other biometric security systems such as a fingerprint and iris identification. As stated by Fleishman (2017), Apple’s face recognition technology uses face identification to unlock a mobile device using infrared and visible light scans to unique identify the face of the smartphone owner. As a result, Apple is confident that this advanced user authentication feature will surpass the security flaws illustrated by its previous authentication features such as the fingerprint scanner and the password option.
In their analysis, Smith, Wiliem, and Lovell (2015) point out that advancements in technology have made it easy to breach most of the conventional biometric authentication system. For instance, Smith, Wiliem, and Lovell (2015) note that it took only a few days for hackers to bypass the fingerprint scanners on iPhone 5s and Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphones. For that reason, Apple relied on such past breaches on smartphone biometric authentication systems to create their new face recognition technology.
Apple has been appealing to its customers and the global smartphone consumers that its new face recognition security feature will not exhibit the flaws illustrated by its past user authentication features. In particular, Apple’s face recognition technology utilizes a wide range of advanced of sensors such as the infrared camera flood illuminator. According to La (2018), Apple’s face recognition uses an infrared camera, a depth sensor, and a dot projector to map out 30,000 points on the users face creating an artificial three-dimension scan. With these comprehensive facial points, Apple’s face recognition technology can detect the user’s face irrespective of the kind of movements or changes the users make to their faces.
In this respect, the face recognition technology relies on the unique attributes of the iPhone users’ face to unlock the phone. According to Fleishman (2017), Apple believes that its face recognition technology can pass six vital tests. Firstly, Apple expects that this technology will be able to initially scan the face of the users accurately enough to recognize it later. Remember, such advanced security features are not only meant to enhance the users’ security but also to improve their convenience while unlocking their mobiles devices. In this respect, mobile phone users prefer features that are reliable.
Moreover, Apple expects that the face recognition technology will be able to scan the users’ face in a variety of lighting conditions, update their facial details as they age, and deny any other similar face which looks like the registered users from unlocking the phone. This feature has received significant positive reviews from its users and biometric experts. In fact, technology experts and smartphone analysts admit that there is no other mobile device with such an advanced and highly reliable face recognition technology.
Thus, experts predict that other mobile manufacturers, particularly Apple’s main competitor in the smartphone market Samsung will strive to integrate this advanced authentication feature in their future phones. Samsung has already responded by introducing its version of face recognition technology. However, experts contend that the face recognition technology used in Samsung devices is inferior to that offered by Apple. According to La (2018), Chinese electronics company Xiaomi recently announced that it is going to use the infrared face detection technology similar to the one used by Apple in its upcoming devices. Consequently, it is apparent that Apple’s face recognition security feature is soon going to be a dominant feature in the smartphone industry.
Notably, analysts in the smartphone industry concur that the face recognition feature by Apple has enhanced the competitive abilities of the firm. The Porter‘s five forces model is an essential tool for assessing this prediction from industry analysts. This model is a powerful tool that companies use to understand their competitiveness. On the word of Porter (2008), the five forces that a firm uses to assess its competitiveness are the power of the competitors, threat of new players, the power of suppliers, the power of customers, and the threat from substitute products. At present, none of Apple’s competitors have such as an advanced face recognition technology. This unique feature suppresses the power of the competitors by making Apple products different from those of its competitors thus enhancing the firm’s competitive advantage.
Customers in the smartphone industry play an influential role in influencing the prices and features of the products. They possess a high consumer power. However, these customers are also sensitive to the security features of their phones. In view of that, the advanced and reliable security feature provided by Apple’s face recognition feature aligns to the customers’ needs thus enhancing the competitiveness of the firm. Importantly, alternative security feature such as fingerprint detection and password have proved to be inadequate.
Apple’s face recognition technology faces a minimal threat from substitute products thus enhancing Apple’s competitiveness. Besides, Apple has significantly suppressed the power of suppliers by producing the face recognition technology its subsidiary. Importantly, gaining market share in the smartphone industry is a challenging task. Apple’s face recognition technology faces a minimal threat from new entrants. The face recognition technology has significantly enhanced Apple’s competitiveness in the smartphone sector.
Business Continuity Plan Recommendations
Cyber-attacks are prevalent in the current technology dominated business setting. In fact, the mass media has reported several cyber-attack attempts on Apple from hackers. Having a comprehensive business continuity plan is a vital strategy for ensuring that Apple’s operations are not paralyzed in case of a cyber–attack. In this respect, Apple should incorporate the following recommendations as part of its Business Continuity Plan if it were to fall victim to a cyber-attack.
1) The company should identify and list all of its critical assets such as programs and servers that can prevent it from operating normally if they are not present. This move will enable the company to ascertain the resources they need to protect first in case of a cyber- attack.
2) The company should implement technology that protects the identified fundamental assets. For instance, this can include technologies that automatically shut down the system in case of an attack to prevent further damages.
3) The firm should acquire legal permit to monitor the activities of its employees. This move will protect the company from attacks emanating from the collaboration between its employees and external attackers.
4) Offering training to its employees on how to use information technology infrastructure appropriately and securely.
5) Assessing and revising the flaw present in its previous cyber-defense plan to prevent future attacks.
- Fleishman, G. (2017, December 25). Face ID on the iPhone X: Everything you need to know about Apple’s facial recognition. Retrieved from Macworld: https://www.macworld.com/article/3225406/iphone-ipad/face-id-iPhone-x-faq.html
- La, L. (2018, July 18). Here are the top phones with facial recognition: iPhone X, Galaxy S9, LG G7 and more. Retrieved from Cnet: https://www.cnet.com/news/phones-with-facial-recognition/
- Maria, D., & Nappi, M. (2014). Face Recognition in Adverse Conditions. Hershey: IGI Global.
- Porter, M. E. (2008). Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors. New York: The Free Press.
- Smith, D. F., Wiliem, D., & Lovell, B. C. (2015). Face recognition on consumer devices: Reflections on replay attacks. IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security, 10(4), 736-745.