Apple planning Face ID for MacBook Pro and iMac

Posted:
in General Discussion edited August 2023

Apple intends to bring the Face ID biometric authentication system introduced with the iPhone, to its Mac range, including both portables and desktops.

We've now got the notch at the top of the screen, but Apple wants to embed a Face ID sensor there
We've now got the notch at the top of the screen, but Apple wants to embed a Face ID sensor there



Just as Touch ID began on its iPhone before spreading to iPad, and then both the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, so Face ID is coming to Apple's range of Macs. It's been rumored before, and Apple has said that Face ID will come to more devices, but a newly granted patent is the first to specify that it will be brought to some form of MacBook.

The granted patent, "Light Recognition Module for Determining a User of a Computing Device," is chiefly concerned with adding Face ID to MacBooks, although instead of those terms, it consistently refers to a light recognition module and a laptop.

Apple's patent application stresses how users are storing sensitive information, and also that the capabilities of a laptop mean people use them to do ever more complex work -- which is potentially a problem.

"By performing these complex functions, sensitive data associated with these users may be gathered and/or stored by these computing devices," says Apple. "To prevent unauthorized users from accessing this sensitive data, these computing devices may incorporate systems and mechanisms for authenticating users."

As important as this security is, it has to work within the constraints of the devices themselves. "Due to the amount of limited space available with internal cavities of these computing devices, these authentication schemes should be compact (or have thin profiles) without sacrificing accuracy of user recognition," it continues.

The answer is to deploy "a light pattern recognition module that may be incorporated within a computing device (e.g., a laptop computer, a notebook, a desktop computer, etc.)."

"In particular," explains the patent, "the light pattern recognition module includes a light emitter that is capable of projecting a predetermined pattern of light (e.g., infrared light) and a light detector that is capable of detecting a pattern of light caused by reflection of the predetermined pattern of light from an object (e.g., a user)."

The patent then goes into great detail about the specifics of how a light dot projector is used, and how the results are interpreted. But the short version is that this Face ID on MacBooks -- and it's going to go in the notch.

Apple proposes that the Face ID module will be in a partition, which could be "disposed adjacent to the display layer," or above it. "In some examples, the partition is a notch, a circle, an ellipse, a polygonal shape, a series of polygonal shapes, a curvilinear shape, or the like."

The familiar iMac screen gets a proposed notch
The familiar iMac screen gets a proposed notch



Plus, while the patent text is overwhelmingly concerned with a laptop, one single drawing in it shows the Face ID notch being used in an iMac-style chassis.

Apple is continually researching many different technologies, as well as very many different ways of implementing them, and applying for a patent is not proof that a product will ever be released. Nonetheless, given Apple's previous statement about Face ID coming to more devices, and the way its progression is following the same line that Touch ID took, it is more reasonable than usual to expect that the technology will be coming to the Mac soon.

The patent is credited to six inventors, four of whom -- Paul X. Wang, Keith J. Hendren, Adam T. Garelli, and Dinesh C. Mathew -- are also listed on a related patent that would see the iMac made from a single sheet of glass.

Read on AppleInsider

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 30
    alanhalanh Posts: 75member
    Why would they put a notch in an iMac screen? (or macbook for that matter) It's never going to happen! The FaceTime camera is already in the bezel and FaceID sensors can be placed there too.
    bonobobScot1ElCapitanwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 30
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member
    It's annoying, but understandable on a handheld.  If they can't do it without a notch on a laptop or desktop then hard to see that as anything other than a massive design failure.  
    MplsPbonobobElCapitan
  • Reply 3 of 30
    FatmanFatman Posts: 513member
    A notch would be the continuation of a design blunder. Here’s to hoping it will disappear on the iPhone 12.
    ElCapitanwilliamlondon
  • Reply 4 of 30
    Oh dear. Maybe someone at Apple thinks the notch is “iconic”, but hasn’t realised that even Apple fans don’t like it.
    macpluspluschemengin1ElCapitanwilliamlondon
  • Reply 5 of 30
    flydogflydog Posts: 1,127member
    alanh said:
    Why would they put a notch in an iMac screen? (or macbook for that matter) It's never going to happen! The FaceTime camera is already in the bezel and FaceID sensors can be placed there too.
    First, this is a patent, and to protect the patentees rights it needs to cover all possible embodiments.

    Second, did you read the article?  
    Apple proposes that the Face ID module will be in a partition, which could be "disposed adjacent to the display layer," or above it. "In some examples, the partition is a notch, a circle, an ellipse, a polygonal shape, a series of polygonal shapes, a curvilinear shape, or the like."
    dewmemike1hcrefugeeStrangeDaysScot1minicoffeewilliamlondon
  • Reply 6 of 30
    flydogflydog Posts: 1,127member

    Oh dear. Maybe someone at Apple thinks the notch is “iconic”, but hasn’t realised that even Apple fans don’t like it.
    Learn to read people. Or at least read past the headline.
    edited March 2020 mike1doozydozenStrangeDayswatto_cobrawilliamlondon
  • Reply 7 of 30
    firelockfirelock Posts: 240member
    Notch doesn’t bother me in the slightest on my phone, mostly because of the vertical orientation of the screen and the fact that I rarely use it in full-screen mode. Not sure that I would like it on other devices that are primarily used in landscape and that I use full-screen more. Note that they forewent a notch on the iPad Pro line that also uses Face ID.
    edited March 2020 macpluspluswatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 30
    barthrhbarthrh Posts: 139member
    Fatman said:
    A notch would be the continuation of a design blunder. Here’s to hoping it will disappear on the iPhone 12.
    How would you propose getting rid of it? There are only two ways I can think of: 1. Put everything behind a working display (not technically feasible at this time) or 2. Don't notch but rather leave a black band at the top. The notch provides space for all of the non-value-added icons to sit above the main content area. In the end, competitors also adopted the notch because it makes sense.
    bonobobwatto_cobrawilliamlondon
  • Reply 9 of 30
    macguimacgui Posts: 2,369member
    As soon as I saw the headline I knew the crybabies would be out in force. Even if Flydog hadn't posted, there was no need to get panties bunched up.

    An Apple patent drawing isn't a blueprint, it's a road map of sorts. Maybe Apple should have also posted "This drawing not to scale". 

    So many people want a larger display in a smaller box. And as bezels go, the iMac's bezel is comparatively yuuuuge.  So it could easily be narrowed substantially thus requiring a notch. Being an iMac, Apple could even put the 'notch' in the menubar so as not to encroach any screen space. A notch the size of that on an iPhone, placed on a 21"/27" iMac would be a constant annoyance only to the whiniest, bitchiest, little girl 'experts'.

    And there's always the possibility that Apple is already working on a camera that would fit in a very thin bezel and is keeping that card close to its vest. Louise, get a grip.
    edited March 2020 BeatsWgkruegerStrangeDayswatto_cobrawilliamlondon
  • Reply 10 of 30
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,956member
    flydog said:

    Oh dear. Maybe someone at Apple thinks the notch is “iconic”, but hasn’t realised that even Apple fans don’t like it.
    Learn to read people. Or at least read past the headline.
    Yes, but perhaps AI could read the article before making the headline?

    I agree, though - making a notch in an iMac as pictured in the article is just stupid. As @Barthrh said, the notch is a necessary compromise for a phone. The only possible justification I could see for it would be if they made the bezel so thin or tapered the case so much that there wasn’t enough room/depth to house the camera. But then that reverts back to being a design flaw.
    edited March 2020
  • Reply 11 of 30
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,917member
    If faceid comes to MAC than it will be in bezel. Enough space in bezel. So called notch will not be there like iPhone.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 30
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 3,338member
    Apple will soon be replacing an apple with a notch as their corporate logo. 
    williamlondon
  • Reply 13 of 30
    M68000M68000 Posts: 765member
    you could cut out a small black piece of cardboard Shaped like a notch and tape to your laptop screen to have an idea of the outcome.  I’m not liking the idea of a notch on laptops.  If you do,  enjoy...
    williamlondon
  • Reply 14 of 30
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,283member
    flydog said:
    alanh said:
    Why would they put a notch in an iMac screen? (or macbook for that matter) It's never going to happen! The FaceTime camera is already in the bezel and FaceID sensors can be placed there too.
    First, this is a patent (cor. APPLICATION), and to protect the patentees rights it needs to cover all possible embodiments.

    Second, did you read the article?  
    Apple proposes that the Face ID module will be in a partition, which could be "disposed adjacent to the display layer," or above it. "In some examples, the partition is a notch, a circle, an ellipse, a polygonal shape, a series of polygonal shapes, a curvilinear shape, or the like."
    All Apple is attempting to do is protect all possible uses of it and not just what they themselves plan to incorporate, assuming that they do. It's not always about using a patent for their own shipping product. Patents are filed to put up fences keeping other companies from incorporating some particular feature or innovation too. 

    It's unlikely that all the claims Apple would like to have possession of will be accepted by the USPTO anyway. There will almost certainly be a lot of trimming and even then the patent may be rejected as it could be too close to already granted ones or for some other reason. This is an application for a patent and not a grant. 
    edited March 2020 FileMakerFeller
  • Reply 15 of 30
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    Oh dear. Maybe someone at Apple thinks the notch is “iconic”, but hasn’t realised that even Apple fans don’t like it.
    The notch has become iconic. It's on half the iPhones used today. Even the knockoffs who mocked Apple have copied the design, as usual.


    macgui said:
    As soon as I saw the headline I knew the crybabies would be out in force. Even if Flydog hadn't posted, there was no need to get panties bunched up.

    An Apple patent drawing isn't a blueprint, it's a road map of sorts. Maybe Apple should have also posted "This drawing not to scale". 

    So many people want a larger display in a smaller box. And as bezels go, the iMac's bezel is comparatively yuuuuge.  So it could easily be narrowed substantially thus requiring a notch. Being an iMac, Apple could even put the 'notch' in the menubar so as not to encroach any screen space. A notch the size of that on an iPhone, placed on a 21"/27" iMac would be a constant annoyance only to the whiniest, bitchiest, little girl 'experts'.

    And there's always the possibility that Apple is already working on a camera that would fit in a very thin bezel and is keeping that card close to its vest. Louise, get a grip.

    I find it ironic that people will complain about a tiny notch on a bezel-less iMac but not the 4+ inch bezel. In the end I don't believe Apple will add a notch to the design. It will most likely be like the iPad Pro or even shrink by the time this FaceID model releases.


    "So it could easily be narrowed substantially thus requiring a notch. Being an iMac, Apple could even put the 'notch' in the menubar so as not to encroach any screen space"

    GENIUS.
    StrangeDayswatto_cobrawilliamlondon
  • Reply 16 of 30
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    gatorguy said:
    flydog said:
    alanh said:
    Why would they put a notch in an iMac screen? (or macbook for that matter) It's never going to happen! The FaceTime camera is already in the bezel and FaceID sensors can be placed there too.
    First, this is a patent, and to protect the patentees rights it needs to cover all possible embodiments.

    Second, did you read the article?  
    Apple proposes that the Face ID module will be in a partition, which could be "disposed adjacent to the display layer," or above it. "In some examples, the partition is a notch, a circle, an ellipse, a polygonal shape, a series of polygonal shapes, a curvilinear shape, or the like."
    All Apple is attempting to do is protect all possible uses of it and not just what they themselves plan to incorporate, assuming that they do. It's not always about using a patent for their own shipping product. Patents are filed to put up fences keeping other companies from COPYING some particular feature or innovation too. 

    Fixed. Although it won't keep Google/Samsung from doing it nor does the USPTO give a sh**.
    watto_cobrawilliamlondon
  • Reply 17 of 30
    hmlongcohmlongco Posts: 539member
    MplsP said:

    I agree, though - making a notch in an iMac as pictured in the article is just stupid. As @Barthrh said, the notch is a necessary compromise for a phone. The only possible justification I could see for it would be if they made the bezel so thin or tapered the case so much that there wasn’t enough room/depth to house the camera. But then that reverts back to being a design flaw.
    Or not. Apple may choose to maximize the amount of screen space and minimize the size of the bezel. Doing both lets the entire device become smaller and lighter.

    Besides, adding a "notch" to a MBP simply puts it in the middle of the menubar which is pretty much empty unused space anyway.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 30
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,283member
    Beats said:
    gatorguy said:
    flydog said:
    alanh said:
    Why would they put a notch in an iMac screen? (or macbook for that matter) It's never going to happen! The FaceTime camera is already in the bezel and FaceID sensors can be placed there too.
    First, this is a patent, and to protect the patentees rights it needs to cover all possible embodiments.

    Second, did you read the article?  
    Apple proposes that the Face ID module will be in a partition, which could be "disposed adjacent to the display layer," or above it. "In some examples, the partition is a notch, a circle, an ellipse, a polygonal shape, a series of polygonal shapes, a curvilinear shape, or the like."
    All Apple is attempting to do is protect all possible uses of it and not just what they themselves plan to incorporate, assuming that they do. It's not always about using a patent for their own shipping product. Patents are filed to put up fences keeping other companies from COPYING some particular feature or innovation too. 

    Fixed. Although it won't keep Google/Samsung from doing it nor does the USPTO give a sh**.
    LOL...Nothing was fixed.
    Apple frequently files patents for "innovations" that on the surface seem almost identical to already existing features or functions from others. Pay attention to the patents that Apple suggests as prior art that read on the application for their own. !t's not always other Apple patents.
    ;)

    In the case of this "innovation" Apple has been investigating it since at least 2012 when they filed for their first "on a laptop" notch patent AFAICT.  Another was filed in 2016. so they have a history with it. Oppo has two of their own in the same date range so some history there too,  and there are at least another half dozen that read on iI identified from Japanese and Korean individuals over the past 5 years or so. 

    When engineers move around so frequently between techs it becomes almost impossible to identify where the "innovation" was first seeded. Very often the best ideas seem to flow from multiple companies all at the same general time. It seems rare that the same good ideas are not being researched by multiple techs at once. They all share a pool of talent where a great Google engineer is now a great Apple engineer, or a Microsoft innovator takes a new position with Samsung along with a new title or vice versa.
    edited March 2020 FileMakerFeller
  • Reply 19 of 30
    YP101YP101 Posts: 162member
    I guess notch means the new iMac and macbook pro has no bezel design?
    edited March 2020
  • Reply 20 of 30
    The Face ID sensors would have to be more powerful in a Mac configuration because the viewing distance is generally greater than on an iPhone. The iPhones Face ID has an effective range of 1 m. The new iPad Pro rear unit LiDAR has an effective range of 5 m. The Mac would have to be something like 1.5 m. 
    rossb2
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