MacOS Sierra code hints at MacBook Pro touch bar, Touch ID integration

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited June 2016
A number of system control files discovered in Apple's latest macOS Sierra reference options for a potentially customizable LED interface, adding fuel to recent rumors of an OLED touch bar-equipped MacBook Pro.


MacBook Pro render. | Source: Martin Hajek


Falling just shy of confirming the latest MacBook Pro rumor, macOS Sierra APIs spotted by French language publication Mac Generation point to human interface device (HID) usage resources suggest incorporation of a secondary, potentially customizable, display.

For example, the Sierra beta released Monday includes reference to "kHIDUsage_LED_NumLock" and "kHIDUsage_LED_CapsLock" APIs seemingly related to a keyboard status graphic, a logical asset for inclusion if Apple were to integrate a standalone status bar. Other resources control display of battery life indicators, printer status, media player functions, media transport, system status messages, audio controls and generic alerts, among other assets.

A closer look at Apple's developer document covering "IOKit Changes" reveals identical additions, as well as support for biometric devices listed under a subheading containing various keyboard operations.

Again, while not a direct reference to Touch ID, the APIs allow for tap tracking on a biometric key. Interestingly, support for key presses is not included at this time, suggesting the biometric device is a fixed structure. By comparison, the Touch ID home button as implemented in iOS differentiates tap and press events, for example a double tap triggers Reachability, while a long press invokes Siri.

Apple is rumored to deliver a dramatically redesigned MacBook Pro model later this year. In a note to investors last month, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said the forthcoming laptop will nix the top row of function keys in favor of a single OLED touch panel, potentially with integrated Touch ID fingerprint authentication technology.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 22
    Let's see how outlandish and unrealistic we can drive these "OLED touch bar" rumors. /s

    I'm gonna start things off by predicting that it will not only have a fingerprint sensor built in, it will also have a psychometric sensor that can see the fingerprints of your past lives.
    lolliverquadra 6101983
  • Reply 2 of 22
    why-why- Posts: 305member
    I'm no engineer but wouldn't this thing need bezels?
  • Reply 3 of 22
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,814member
    Both Capslock and Numlock keys already have LEDs. That's nothing new.
    mattinozaylksphericjackansi1983
  • Reply 4 of 22
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,814member
    Let's see how outlandish and unrealistic we can drive these "OLED touch bar" rumors. /s

    I'm gonna start things off by predicting that it will not only have a fingerprint sensor built in, it will also have a psychometric sensor that can see the fingerprints of your past lives.

    If the Touchbar uses haptic feedback, then it would feel like real button presses. The only challenge being using it blindly. I'm a huge Esc key presser, so that key position better remain when I need it. :)
  • Reply 5 of 22
    foljsfoljs Posts: 381member
    Both Capslock and Numlock keys already have LEDs. That's nothing new.
    You don't seem to understand APIs and how "kHIDUsage_LED_NumLock" and "kHIDUsage_LED_CapsLock" are new development -- that previously didn't need (or have) any APIs besides the generic keyboard API.

    Not to mention there are TONS of other LED-related APIs there, such as: 
    kHIDUsage_LED_PaperJam, kHIDUsage_LED_PaperOut, kHIDUsage_LED_Pause, kHIDUsage_LED_Play, kHIDUsage_LED_Record etc -- which don't have leds "already".


    lolliverchia
  • Reply 6 of 22
    bocboc Posts: 72member
    Hey, why stop at the function key row.  Make the palm rests and trackpad into a giant interactive display.
  • Reply 7 of 22
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,653member
    why- said:
    I'm no engineer but wouldn't this thing need bezels?

    This is a mockup/rendering to give an idea.  Nothing more.  
  • Reply 8 of 22
    staticx57staticx57 Posts: 403member
    boc said:
    Hey, why stop at the function key row.  Make the palm rests and trackpad into a giant interactive display.
    Or it is a pretty creative idea that can be left not the extreme. Just because you don't like it doesnt mean it is a bad idea.
  • Reply 9 of 22
    Rudog48Rudog48 Posts: 1member
    I would like to see 4g, more storage, more power and more battery life. Too much to ask for?
  • Reply 10 of 22
    why-why- Posts: 305member
    sflocal said:
    why- said:
    I'm no engineer but wouldn't this thing need bezels?

    This is a mockup/rendering to give an idea.  Nothing more.  

    well yeah I get that. I'm talking about the real thing. because the function key row is rather narrow and I'm just curious as to how large the bezels would have to be and whether or not they would inhibit functionality
  • Reply 11 of 22
    Why have a keyboard at all. Simply have two displays where the keyboard is simply a touchscreen like the iPad , this is obviously the way to go, this way the "keyboard" becomes a Palette board aka Pboard and it changes depending what program is running, also doubles as a track pad.
  • Reply 12 of 22
    adrayvenadrayven Posts: 460member
    Rudog48 said:
    I would like to see 4g, more storage, more power and more battery life. Too much to ask for?
    No, if you like carrying an 8 lb. monster - More battery, but you want a more power hungry cpu/gpu? so ok.. double the weight right there to make up for all the battery you need.. hell, include a battery backpack. yeah!! :p heh
  • Reply 13 of 22
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,816member
    Why have a keyboard at all. Simply have two displays where the keyboard is simply a touchscreen like the iPad , this is obviously the way to go, this way the "keyboard" becomes a Palette board aka Pboard and it changes depending what program is running, also doubles as a track pad.
    Before they do that, they need a small area where they can test the concept first. 
  • Reply 14 of 22
    why-why- Posts: 305member
    Why have a keyboard at all. Simply have two displays where the keyboard is simply a touchscreen like the iPad , this is obviously the way to go, this way the "keyboard" becomes a Palette board aka Pboard and it changes depending what program is running, also doubles as a track pad.

    Microsoft tried a touch keyboard with the first surface and it didn't fly too well. they also had their courier concept that never took off. acer had their Iconia laptop that didn't fare terribly well either. I could be wrong but I really don't think a touch keyboard is the proper direction

    it would make more sense to expand the trackpad (or perhaps replace it with a touchscreen) to the edges of the body which would give you a lot more room to play around and keep the traditional clickety-click keyboard
    edited June 2016
  • Reply 15 of 22
    foljs said:
    Both Capslock and Numlock keys already have LEDs. That's nothing new.
    You don't seem to understand APIs and how "kHIDUsage_LED_NumLock" and "kHIDUsage_LED_CapsLock" are new development -- that previously didn't need (or have) any APIs besides the generic keyboard API.

    Not to mention there are TONS of other LED-related APIs there, such as: kHIDUsage_LED_PaperJam, kHIDUsage_LED_PaperOut, kHIDUsage_LED_Pause, kHIDUsage_LED_Play, kHIDUsage_LED_Record etc -- which don't have leds "already".


    No, he's right. These aren't new APIs. They're USB HID usages, which are just numbers that USB uses to identify input or output message fields. It's not impossible for these to be references to functionality on the OLED bar but they sound more like output usages to turn LED indicator lights on and off.

    Besides, there are already keyboard input usages for the "media keys" (pause, play, volume, etc.) that Apple would likely continue to use for an OLED bar. The USB traffic wouldn't need to change.

    My guess is Apple is just adding explicit definitions for already existing USB usages they didn't support before (and maybe some new usages in the latest USB specification).
    jackansi
  • Reply 16 of 22
    larryjwlarryjw Posts: 807member
    I think macOS is bringing other iOS features to the Macs. iTunes has supported updating the repository of iOS apps purchased for as long as I can remember. It's been the only way to conveniently update the iOS apps on iOS devices -- from the iTunes repository on your Mac. 

    Recently I've notices that two apps, Find My Friends, and Podcasts, can no longer be downloaded to the Mac, saying these iOS apps are only available on iOS devices. 

    My guess is Apple is preparing to support executing iOS apps on the Mac. 
  • Reply 17 of 22
    zimmiezimmie Posts: 536member
    adrayven said:
    Rudog48 said:
    I would like to see 4g, more storage, more power and more battery life. Too much to ask for?
    No, if you like carrying an 8 lb. monster - More battery, but you want a more power hungry cpu/gpu? so ok.. double the weight right there to make up for all the battery you need.. hell, include a battery backpack. yeah!! p heh
    Funny you should mention. One of my current computers is a Panasonic Toughbook CF-31. It weighs about 8 pounds; 7.9 with the regular 18-hour battery, 8.2 with a second battery for 27 hours of life. It also has a cell modem and I can fit quite a sizable drive in it. It has a very limited cooling system (has to be rainproof and dustproof, after all), so it doesn't really have the thermal envelope to have a high-performance processor or graphics processor, though.

    I use it because it can take a fall or a really serious whack from a careless coworker and nothing will break. It also has a real serial port, which is nice for dealing with all the "enterprise" hardware that inexplicably still requires serial for initial configuration. If I could run Mac OS on this thing, I would be over the moon.

    Regarding careless coworkers, we have some MBPs (all unibody; some retina, some not). Most of them look like somebody dropped them into a belt sander collection. One I use has its frame so severely bent that an ethernet cable won't go into the jack (Edited to add: it was like that before I got it). Another coworker didn't pay attention to his MagSafe connector and closed the screen on it. I have no idea how these people haven't managed to accidentally stick their hands in a blender or something equally stupid.
    edited June 2016 mike egglestonrfichokeai46
  • Reply 18 of 22
    19831983 Posts: 1,224member
    boc said:
    Hey, why stop at the function key row.  Make the palm rests and trackpad into a giant interactive display.
    Make the entire keyboard, track pad and palm rests a single haptic feedback display. You basically open up your rMBP and its two giant display panels.
    edited June 2016
  • Reply 19 of 22
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    why- said:
    I'm no engineer but wouldn't this thing need bezels?
    Probably not!   They could easily glue the OLED membrane down on the aluminum surface.  Remember these membranes are very thin and actively produce their own light.   Thus there are no build up of layers to distribute back lighting.  

    This is could be pretty cool but if there is no key press input I don't see how a strip like this can replace the function keys. 
  • Reply 20 of 22
    See also today's rumors that the iPhone 7 will receive a capacity touch Touch ID home sensor, not a button. This logic seems to support that rumor, and imply the mac has the same sensor.
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