By Don Reisinger
October 2, 2017

Apple’s upcoming iPhone X has one feature that is far ahead of its Android-based competitors.

That’s the argument by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who told investors in a research note on Monday that the iPhone X’s facial-scanning feature, Face ID, puts it one-and-a-half to two-and-a-half years ahead of rival technology in Android-based alternatives like Samsung’s Galaxy S8.

According to Apple-tracking site 9to5Mac, which earlier reported on the note, Kuo believes Apple’s (AAPL) TrueDepth technology, which uses face scanning to determine whether to open access to a particular phone, is a major technological leap forward. He added that isn’t something Android competitors can easily replicate because of its ability to analyze a person’s facial features in 3D. Most competing face scanners analyze a person’s face in 2D.

Apple unveiled Face ID last month for iPhone X. the high-end phone that starts at $999. The technology is believed to have been at least partly come from the acquisition of camera sensor maker PrimeSense in 2013.

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In order to catch up, rivals will either need to build similar technology or acquire smaller firms focused on it.

At its iPhone press event last month, Apple made a point of comparing Face ID to similar technology used in rival devices. The company said that it can’t be fooled into giving users access to phones based on photos or by scanning human-looking masks. And unlike Android-based facial scanning alternatives, it is more secure than its Touch ID fingerprint sensor in the iPhone 8.

Samsung’s Galaxy S8 face-scanning features have been criticized for being fooled by scanning photos, providing a window that hackers can use to dupe the technology. Samsung, however, has said that its face scanner is secure.

In terms of sales, Kuo believes the iPhone X will be in big demand by consumers. He estimates that Apple will sell 30 million to 35 million of them over the next year.

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