Face ID Macs could be some years away, with the first Mac models to incorporate Apple’s depth-based facial recognition technology predicted to drop “within a couple of years”.
- Face ID may be debuting on the Mac in a few years
- Apple wants to supplant Touch ID with Face ID on all devices
- Embedding Face ID into a slim notebook lid could be challenging
Face ID Macs may be coming “within a couple of years”
Many Apple fans have expected the company to include Face ID in the recent updates to the Mac lineup, especially since the latest Apple silicon Mac computers use Apple’s custom chips from iPhones that already have the necessary hardware support for Face ID. Unfortunately, that hasn’t transpired but that doesn’t mean that Face ID on Macs is a pipe dream.
Quite the contrary!
According to a Q&A section of Mark Gurman’s “Power On” newsletter on Bloomberg, it’s happening within a few years. Not only that, but the technology should eventually supplant Touch ID on less-expensive iPhones and iPads, like the iPhone SE and the budget iPad.
It won’t happen this year, but I’d bet Face ID on the Mac is coming within a couple of years. I expect all iPhones and iPads to transition to Face ID within that timeframe, too. 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.
According to the author, Apple already has underlying Mac support for Face ID.
A report in February 2019 suggested that Apple was testing Mac prototypes with a Face ID biometric feature. The story corroborated Gurman’s January 2021 report saying that Apple decided against including Face ID in the first iteration of the new iMac design.
Of course, we’d prefer for Face ID Macs to arrive sooner than later.
Why Face ID would be better than Touch ID on Macs
Whether or not Apple will supplant Touch ID on Macs with Face ID remains to be seen.
Face ID on Macs is a no-brainer, no matter how you look at it. For starters, Face ID is inherently more secure than Touch ID. And on a Mac notebook, Face ID would be much more convenient with the ability to log you in as soon as you open the lid.
Last but not least, Apple could be testing a new external display powered by the company’s dedicated Apple A13 chip with Neural engine, according to recent reporting by 9to5Mac. It sounds like a source misheard something or made up a story based on Gurman’s newsletter.
But taken in the context of Gurman’s prediction, such a display would possess the oomph to drive Face ID via an integrated TrueDepth camera. Actually, it’s the only reason that we could think of explaining why such a display would specifically need Apple’s Neural engine).