Today Apple released its latest and greatest iPhone in order to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the product’s initial launch. Named the “iPhone X,” it contains a new technology called “Face ID” that lets one unlock one’s phone in a very novel way.
Whereas previously one had to fiddle with fingerprints and numeric passcodes, Apple has now implemented facial recognition technology that allows one to stare directly into one’s phone and – voila! – one’s iPhone is unlocked ready for use.
What a time to be alive, indeed. Unless you happen to be a fully veiled woman, I’d imagine, in which case this new technology would pretty much be useless. In the above video, one can see people of all races, genders, and subcultures using the new iPhone’s facial recognition technology. Noticeably absent, however, is a niqab or burqa-clad woman, precisely because this technology would not work for such a person.
And not only are veiled women missing out on the practical uses of facial recognition technology; they are missing out on all the fun bits as well. With “Face ID,” one can, for example, create real-time emoji avatars that mimics one’s speech. So if one ever feels the need to relay a message as a fox, unicorn, or monkey, Apple has now got you covered.
But alas, those among us who decide to fully cover our faces will be unable to partake in all this fun. But then again, perhaps for those who cover their faces (or are coerced into doing so), the concept of “fun” is not very much encouraged anyway.
And all this begs the question as to whether Apple should have decided to be a bit more “culturally sensitive” in implementing its new features on its latest iPhone. Is Apple even being slightly Islamophobic in failing to consider the sensitivities of veiled Muslim women?
Of course Apple is not Islamophobic. Of course the new iPhone is not Islamophobic. But the new iPhone does inadvertently highlight the clash between the modern world and the medieval world.
To conclude, Apple created its new “Face ID” technology under the assumption that it would be a very practical and useful tool to virtually everyone. In doing so, it has highlighted just how antisocial and impractical it is to fully cover one’s face in the modern world.
Thank you, Apple.