Apple has this unique ability to blend form and function into usable features and products which often do more than the sum of the parts. Take Touch ID, Apple’s much heralded fingerprint scanner of yesteryear.
Touch ID just works. Scan a finger. Use the Touch ID button to unlock iPhone, iPad, and now a few MacBook and MacBook models with little effort. High security married high convenience. Face ID debuted on the iPhone X in 2017, and then on three new iPhone X-models last year. Face ID is the future of convenience and security. Even iPad Pro has Face ID. Where is Face ID on the Mac?
As an Apple customer and Mac user for more decades than I desire to count and then tell anyone, I’ve come to recognize that the company’s genius is not in being first to the market with new features and functions. Fingerprint scanners have been around many years, first on personal computers, later on other devices. Did they work? Not with sufficient reliability that anyone bothered to use them the way we came to rely on Touch ID and now the new iPhone X models. It just worked. It was fast and reliable and convenient and secure.
Yet, Apple ditched the much beloved Touch ID for Face ID on the most expensive iPhones and iPad Pro models. Why? The reasons likely are many and varied but let’s just say Face ID works, too, and in some ways is more convenient in how it marries security with convenience. It works even if you have gloves or glasses on. Touch ID often had problems with sticky or wet fingers.
My guess mirrors other certified Apple Watchers™– Face ID is on the way to new Mac models, likely more expensive MacBook Pro and iMacs, and that could mean thinner bezels for thinner, lighter, faster models. If it all works as well as Face ID then Apple has extended the facial recognition technology to another layer of products, but likely the more expensive Macs.
Touch ID made it to the MacBook Pro line a few years ago and now it’s available on the new MacBook Air models; but not the smaller and similarly priced MacBooks. Since Mac notebooks and iMac already have a built-in FaceTime camera we should expect Face ID to show up on future Mac models.
When? The high performance MacBook Pro models released last year have Touch ID. MacBook Air, too. New Mac notebook models are on the way, yet none of my rumor monger scouts have indicated they will come with Face ID.
What’s the problem, Apple?
There are issues that most Apple critics and members of the technorati elite politburo fail to bring to their readers. Supply chain. It takes time to get the supply chain to a point where it can manufacture new components at an appropriate price, correct specifications, and specific volume. Apple may have sold 80-million iPhone X’s last year with Face ID, but this year may need double that number if for the three new iPhone models come with the facial recognition system, not to mention the iPad Pros.
Apple sells about 40-million iPads and 20-million Macs each year, so moving the technology from iPhone to other products takes some effort– both to configure Face ID for each device, and get manufacturing ramped up to handle the volume of production.
You seldom read such considerations from politburo members.
OnePlus, a Chinese maker of Android-based smartphones, introduced a Touch ID-like fingerprint sensor built into the display in a new phone late last year. Good for them. First to market has advantages. OnePlus may manufacture tens of thousands of such high end devices. Apple needs manufacturing capability in the 10’s of millions for such new features.
So, when will the Mac get Face ID?
Soon. But not soon enough. I want one. I won’t buy another Mac without Face ID. I’m waiting, Apple.