A couple of years ago Apple introduced new MacBook Pro models which included the infamous Touch Bar that came with the iPhone and iPad’s Touch ID fingerprint sensor. Can it be any easier to log into a Mac than Touch ID? Uh, apparently.
After Touch ID launched on the Mac, strong darkness fell over the entire Mac line. Touch ID didn’t show up on any other Macs, including MacBook or iMac. It began to feel as if Touch ID was soon to be an orphaned technology destined for the a niche paragraph in the tech industry history books. We know what happened.
Touch vs. Face
As much as the world loved Touch ID, Apple seems to have this penchant for improving functionality and moving the industry forward. At about the same time Touch ID was introduced in the MacBook Pro line Apple was ready to cement Face ID into future iPhone models. It takes little effort to see that all future Mac notebooks and iMac models will come with Face ID.
Security, meet convenience. Fun and free rules. Yes, we thought we had the ultimate of convenience and security with Touch ID. After all, how difficult was it to sit down in front of your Mac, touch the Touch ID button to unlock the Mac, and then bang away on the keyboard in the secure knowledge that all was right with the world.
Well, things change.
Now imagine sitting down in front of your Mac, whether notebook or desktop, and have it instantly recognize you and log you in– no touch required. You won’t even have to lift a finger, so to speak.
For now, let us assume that Face ID is in its infancy. After all, it’s not even a year old yet. Sure, Face ID would be an easy and fast way to authenticate and log into a Mac. But other than Animoji in Messages, Face ID is a mere convenience toward higher security. Let’s expand the horizon a bit to see where a Mac version of Face ID could take us. Because a Mac has plenty of power I can see Face ID scanning the area where your face would be within a few seconds after you stop using the keyboard, trackpad, or mouse.
Think Memoji. Think Animoji.
Face ID just wants to know that you are still who your face said you were earlier. If Face ID scans and you’re not there, the Mac’s screen stays locked up. If Face ID scans and finds a different face, the Mac’s screen stays locked up. Fair enough, right? More secure? Yes. More convenient? Yes. Maybe a built-in motion sensor in the Mac’s FaceTime camera helps out. Either way, more security, less effort.
Now, let me take that to another level. Already on my iPhone X I would appreciate the option of putting my husband’s face into Face ID the way we each used our thumbs for each others iPhone in Touch ID. How? Not sure, but it would be a good way to allow multiple people to use Face ID on the iPhone. That may be coming in iOS 12, due early autumn. Let me carry that multi-user Face ID option to the Mac because Macs get shared. iPads, too.
OK, one more level and I can see this coming in the not too distant future of additional functionality– background sensing. For now, Face ID focuses on the face, specifically eyes and nose. OK, it works, but what if someone is leaning over your shoulder while you’re not aware? Again, add some motion sensing to the mix and iPhone, iPad, or Mac with Face ID could then alert you to eyes roaming where they should not, and perhaps even block whatever is on the screen until the pervert thief moves on. It could happen.
Regardless, I would bet my husband’s salary on future Macs and iPads showing up with Face ID and it does not take much imagination to see where it will go in a year or two.