Apple’s secure and convenient Face ID feature could be expanding out from iPhones to Macs and iPads in the near future, according to patents recently granted to the iPhone maker.
According to Patently Apple, the iPhone maker has just been granted a patent that relates to an under display camera that could be used for Face ID, or the Touch ID fingerprint sensor.
It comes after Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman predicted that Face ID would be coming to Macs in a few years’ time.
“It won’t happen this year, but I’d bet Face ID on the Mac is coming within a couple of years,” Gurman wrote.
He said he expects all iPhones and iPads to transition to Face ID within that timeframe, too, adding: “Eventually, a camera embedded in the screen would help differentiate Apple’s pricier devices by eliminating the notch at the top.
“The facial recognition sensor gives Apple two central features: security and augmented reality. Touch ID, more convenient or not, only provides the former.”
Face ID: Secure and convenient
The Mac has been sadly lacking the Face ID feature that could make it much more convenient to use—at the same time remaining secure. This is apparently a technology problem. The current true depth system doesn’t fit inside a Mac’s screen.
Although Gurman hints that Touch ID could be phased out, the latest patent for both iPhones and Macs suggests that Apple is still open to incorporating the technology. On iPhones, all the signs are that Touch ID will be included in the screen, rather than in the home button, where it is currently located in lower end iPhones such as the SE, and iPads.
Biometrics are a long term aim for Apple. In June, it emerged that the iPhone maker will take game-changing steps towards removing passwords altogether, in favor of biometrics via its Face ID and Touch ID features.
What about the new iPhone 13?
When the iPhone 12 was launched last fall, many people complained about a lack of Touch ID on the new device. People assumed Apple would add a fingerprint sensor to the new iPhones because opening your device with a passcode is cumbersome when wearing a mask. But as I explained at the time, Apple designs its devices at least a year in advance, so the pandemic wasn’t something it needed to take into account at the time.
Apple also thinks long term—people probably aren’t wearing masks forever. Touch ID doesn’t fit in with the iPhone maker’s long term augmented reality aims, so it might still choose to skip this feature altogether.
And what about the iPhone 13? The rumor mill is of course in full swing with the new iPhone’s launch just months away, along with Apple’s operating system update iOS 15.
It’s likely the new iPhones will include Face ID and a smaller notch, but Touch ID won’t be available this year. That might change when the iPhone 14 comes into play—respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has predicted the 2022 iPhones will feature under-display Touch ID. Here’s hoping.