On Tuesday Apple announced the iPhone X and with it, Face ID. Apart from the failed demo on stage (which was no fault of Face ID, rather a mishap in setup for the event) the internet has gone wild with a mixture of worry and joy about the new login method for iPhone. This isn't a post about the security or integrity of the system- there are better publications out there for that.
Whilst watching Apple's keynote I had a thought to myself: the tube. If you are unfamiliar with what the tube is, it is a colloquialism for the London Underground. Two years ago, Apple Pay came to the tube and it was wildly successful with 3.2 million journeys using mobile payment methods in the first six months of operation. Having used it myself several times this year whenever I have been in London, I can say it's really handy and easier than getting a paper ticket, pretty much the only alternative for those without a Oyster card or contactless payment card.
So, to the (potential) problem: The tube is busy. In fact, over 31 million journeys are made every single day. This means stations are busy and can't afford delays, which explains the looks and groans you get if you're that person and wait until you get to the gateline before getting out your payment method. Although I don't use the tube often I have used it enough, and at peak times to have experienced this (sorry, I've held it up when Touch ID doesn't like me) the thought of people having to essentially "stop the flow" to authorize an Apple Pay transaction sets off alarm bells for me.
As we don't know all the details about Face ID in general, we don't know how hard you have to look at it or if you can glance.
One argument against this problem is that people would have the foresight to get the Apple Pay "ready to go" but that's not likely to catch on quickly. Regardless, the convenience of double-pressing the home button on your iPhone (or crown on Apple Watch) trumps - in my opinion - the process of Face ID based Apple Pay.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out, both in terms of the point I've mentioned here and the security/integrity of Face ID.
I'm sure I'm just thinking of a problem that doesn't exist, but oh well.