Apple CEO Tim Cook introducing the new iPhone 11. Apple CEO Tim Cook introducing the new iPhone 11. Apple CEO Tim Cook introducing the new iPhone 11. (Photo: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

Apple’s latest iPhone features new Israeli tech

Tech giant unveiled enhancements to its Face ID and camera at Tuesday event.

Apple introduced a suite of new services and products at an event held in the Steve Jobs Theater on their campus in Cupertino, Calif. on Tuesday. They include a new streaming TV service and a brand new edition of their Apple Watch.

But the highlight of the keynote, led by Apple CEO Tim Cook, was the introduction of the new iPhone models: the iPhone 11 and the iPhone 11 Pro. There were so many new features to go over that Cook skipped the usual company updates that he gives at such events.

Both new phones feature an enhanced version of Face ID, the technology used to unlock your phone simply by looking at it. But holding up your phone to your face is so passé. The iPhone 11 and the iPhone 11 Pro will have a more powerful Face ID with a wider view so it can scan your face from different angles — even if the phone is lying flat on a nearby table.

Face ID was first introduced in 2017 after Apple acquired RealFace, a company that specializes in facial recognition technology. The startup was founded by three Israeli entrepreneurs: Adi Eckhouse Barzilai, a graduate of Columbia University in New York and the Interdisciplinary Center in Israel; Aviv Mader, an alumnus of Tel Aviv University; and Gidi Littwin, also an alum of Tel Aviv University. The technology is built on top of one developed by Tel Aviv-based PrimeSense, a 3D sensing company founded by entrepreneur Aviad Maizels, an alumnus of the Technion Institute of Technology and the Weizmann Institute of Science, both in Israel. The MIT Technology Review named it one of the world's 10 most important technologies. Apple acquired PrimeSense in 2014.

Hillel Fuld is a prominent startup advisor in the Israeli tech scene. "Apple, like most top-tier tech multinationals, looks to Israel for leading innovative products," he told From The Grapevine. "The company has made several strategic acquisitions in Israel over the past decade and much of the technology built into Apple products were developed in Israel."

Tim Cook at an Apple event in 2012 'Apple is in Israel because the engineering talent and the brilliance of the people are incredible,' said Apple CEO Tim Cook of the country that is also home to 6,000 iPhone app developers. (Photo: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

The new phones also feature a faster processor and are more water resistant than the current models. Other camera enhancements announced include a new wide angle camera and the ability to take photos in lower light situations, like at night. Asked if he'll be purchasing the latest models of the iPhone when they're released next week, Fuld responded quickly. "The money is set aside in my sock drawer to buy the new iPhone the day it comes out."

Bloomberg News has reported that Apple is planning to include a 3D camera in its phones as early as 2020. The purpose? To scan the environment around you so you can use your phone for augmented reality (AR) purposes. Point your camera at anything in the real world – a busy intersection for example – and a layer or useful information can be added to all that you see. It's like something out of a sci-fi movie.

Analysts at UBS say Apple already has 1,000 engineers in Israel working on augmented reality. Apple's three research and development centers in Israel continue to expand, with 147 job openings now available – mostly in software and hardware engineering. Its largest is a 180,000-square-foot Mediterranean R&D lab in the coastal Israeli city of Herzliya. It is Apple's largest outside of the United States.

"Apple is in Israel because the engineering talent and the brilliance of the people are incredible," Cook said during a visit to Israel. "We have an enormous admiration for Israel."

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Apple’s latest iPhone features new Israeli tech
Tech giant unveiled enhancements to its Face ID and camera at Tuesday event.