By Chand Bellur
March 30, 2020 at 6:45 p.m. PDT
- Face ID, a security feature first implemented on the iPhone X, uses biometric facial features to authenticate users.
- So far, only the iPhone and iPad Pro implement the technology.
- Rumors suggest that Apple will expand Face ID to work on the Macintosh.
Face ID Makes Security Easy
Apple has always been on the leading edge of security. While others beat Apple to both fingerprint and facial authentication, users didn’t fall in love with their competitors’ implementations.
Fingerprint recognition on competing devices was so slow and quirky; most users disabled the feature. Similarly, users shunned early attempts at facial recognition. Apple was the first company to make viable biometric identification. They did it so well that most users keep these features activated.
Face ID is one of the most innovative facial recognition systems on the market today. By projecting a grid of dots onto the user’s face, the technology uses sensors to interpret the 3D pattern. Recorded data of the user’s face compares against the interpreted face map. If they’re a match, the user is authenticated.
The dot projector is critical. Photos or masks could easily fool nascent facial recognition systems. Apple’s Face ID system is astonishingly reliable and secure. The feature is seamless to end-users. Most aren’t even aware that the feature is activated. It just works!
Face ID Coming to the Mac?
Apple always prioritizes features in a way that makes sense. We take our iPhones everywhere, and they hold essential information. They’re taken out of pockets and used intermittently. The iPhone is also Apple’s flagship product. It brings in the most revenue, and therefore, is the highest priority for new, cutting-edge features. For all of these reasons, both Touch ID and Face ID are more critical to the iPhone than other devices.
The iPad Pro eventually incorporated Face ID. This decision makes a lot of sense. Apple can easily repurpose Face ID components for the iPad, which mostly runs the same operating system as the iPad. Manufacturing more Face ID hardware components actually makes the parts less expensive, as Apple can realize economies of scale benefits.
Rumors now suggest that Apple will incorporate Face ID into the MacBook Pro and iMac. Again, this makes a lot of sense. It’s strange that Apple recently added Touch ID to various MacBooks, considering that Face ID debuted years before. Then again, Apple likes to take baby steps. The lower cost of manufacturing Touch ID components is also an incentive to repurpose the technology.
Face ID should have probably adorned the Mac years ago. Let’s face it, the Mac is a neglected product. It doesn’t sell nearly as well as the iPhone. Its users tend to value stability and performance over flashy new features. Whatever the case, it’s highly likely that we’ll see a few Mac models with Face ID coming out in 2020.