Quality — or the appearance of quality — has always been a critical component of Apple’s marketing and brand appeal. Other companies emphasize specs and promise to give you more: More speed, more storage, more screen, etc. Apple tends to de-emphasize raw specifications and promises you something better. Whether you believe you’re getting something better is a matter of personal opinion, but it helps explain why the company has strenuously denied claims that it lowered Face ID recognition quality to speed device shipments.That’s the charge leveled by Bloomberg, which claims to have spoken to iPhone X suppliers about the state of the device. The news organization claims that Apple “quietly told suppliers they could reduce the accuracy of the face-recognition technology to make it easier to manufacture.” But concerns about the production of iPhone X’s continue to mount, with Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities predicting Apple will have 2-3 million devices available on launch day (coming up on November 3) with 25-30 million units sold during the holiday quarter. Of course, some of those sales could be delayed; Apple can take orders for devices as quickly as it wants, provided it notifies customers up-front about how long it’ll take to fill their orders.Apple, meanwhile, has pushed back hard against these allegations. Apple spokesperson Trudy Muller told Bloomberg: “Bloomberg’s claim that it reduced the accuracy spec for Face ID is completely false and we expect Face ID to be the new gold standard for facial authentication. The quality and accuracy of Face ID haven’t changed; it continues to be one in a million probability of a random person unlocking your iPhone with Face ID.”But therein lies the rub. Bloomberg is clearly confident enough in its reporting to run the story, even with the Apple denial. And the reports we’re hearing consistently point to problems with the Face ID’s depth camera. The following image shows the various components of the Face ID system:It’s extremely similar to Microsoft’s Kinect, albeit in a much, much, more compact form. (Kinect was developed by PrimeSense, which Apple later bought, so the similarities make sense). Your face is “painted” with an IR pattern of dots, which is then read and analyzed by an IR camera. But it’s possible that some problem with manufacturing the depth-sensing camera at the quality level Apple wanted has delayed unit shipments.Bloomberg reports that despite leaping for an incredibly difficult technology, Apple didn’t give its suppliers more than the usual amount of lead time to bring it to market. This wouldn’t be the first time that Apple misfired under Tim Cook’s watch; the company’s sapphire glass snafu is a similar example of Apple setting an incredibly aggressive ramp and failing to meet its own deadlines. And the dot projector, which incorporates a number of fragile, difficult-to-manufacture components, is always listed as the leading cause of these problems.Both Bloomberg and Apple could be telling the truth on this one. It’s entirely possible that Apple relaxed its Face ID standard by requiring that the user hold the device from the same angle and/or while in roughly similar lighting. By making one part of the functional requirements more rigid, Apple may have been able to tolerate higher error rates in the camera’s manufacturing. The company may even hope to make up the difference via software updates at a later time. The iPhone X launches in eight days, but so far virtually all of the rumble about the phone has been negative — not the best place for Apple to be on the eve of what should be its tenth anniversary triumph.