Apple mocked AR Snapchat Exclusive Lenses for iPhone X at the phone's launch event last year, and today, Snapchat is finally launching them. Only iPhone X users will be able to see the three lenses that are available today, thanks to the TrueDepth front camera of the devices. These lenses include a Mardi Gras-esque mask, a skull of the Day of the Dead, and a beautiful golden eyepiece cover.
You will immediately notice that these lenses stick more firmly to your face, particularly around the jaw line, at least coming out of the photos and videos provided by Snapchat. Snap says that the lenses should reflect the light of the environment more realistically. It also says that the TrueDepth camera allows you to blur the background of these lenses and accurately apply small details and 3D objects. You can see them in action here:
When Apple mentioned and showed these lenses in September of last year, it did not explain the amount of data that application developers would receive from the camera. Reuters reported in January that the company plans to share facial map data, which would feed these precise lenses.
The company's developer agreement says that third-party application manufacturers only have access to the visual data of the face mapping, not the mathematical representation of them that is used to unlock the iPhone X through Face ID. Apple claims that the latter is encrypted in the device, so even its own employees do not have access to it. But developers have access to a map of a user's face as part of the TrueDepth camera, as well as data of up to 50 facial expressions that could tell a developer how to raise eyebrows or move their mouths.
Apple previously said that these data can never be used for advertising or marketing, and that they can not be grouped and sold to analytics companies or data intermediaries. Apple also says that it prohibits developers from creating user profiles that would otherwise be anonymous by identifying facial capture information. I guess this means that Snap can not store information about the expressions you make with these lenses or use them to target you with ads, although I can imagine that companies want to take advantage of the technology to label these lenses over time.