Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
56,981
19,827


Apple's first Mac with Face ID is unlikely to be a MacBook because the technology necessary to embed the authentication hardware into a thin notebook display still doesn't exist, according to well-connected Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman.

macbook-pro-2021-notch-feature.jpg

Gurman's latest thoughts on the subject appeared in the Q&A section of his latest "Power On" newsletter. On whether Face ID will ever come to the Mac, Gurman writes:
Face ID was in the cards for the original M1 iMac. Naturally, the iMac is the thickest Mac with a built-in display since Apple's laptops have fairly thin screens. At this point, the technology to embed Face ID into the thin MacBook displays doesn't exist. So if Face ID comes to the Mac, I think it will be on an iMac or external monitor first. Apple has definitely been working on this, but time will tell if they launch it.
First shown off in 2017 with the launch of the iPhone X, Apple's Face ID facial recognition system has since replaced Touch ID in most of the company's subsequent iPhones and iPads, and rumors have inevitably suggested a future Mac will adopt Face ID.

Broaching the topic in July 2021, Gurman said he believed Apple intended to launch its first Mac with Face ID "within a couple of years," and that Apple had initially planned to include Face ID in 2021's 24-inch iMac, but its inclusion was delayed because of the all-in-one machine's 2021 redesign.

There have been rumors that Apple has tested Face ID for its next larger ‌iMac‌, tentatively dubbed "iMac Pro," but it is not a confirmed feature and it remains unclear whether ‌Face ID‌ will make it into the release version of the machine.

Aside from the technical limitations, there are also practical questions surrounding the implementation of Face ID on a Mac. For example, unlocking a Mac from sleep using Face ID would seem reasonably straightforward, but using it to authenticate actions like purchases would presumably mean it would have to be confirmed by a physical button press or perhaps be used in conjunction with Touch ID.

As for Face ID on future iPhones, for at least some of the iPhone 14 models, Apple is working to eliminate the notch that houses the hardware needed for Face ID. Display analyst Ross Young has said he expects to see both a pill-shaped cutout and a circular cutout on some iPhone 14 models. The circular cutout will likely house the Face ID dot projector, and the pill-shaped cutout will include the front camera, Face ID infrared camera, and possibly other components.

In addition to the question of Face ID on Mac, Gurman's latest newsletter reiterated that Apple is planning to hold a virtual event on Tuesday, March 8 to introduce new iPhone SE and iPad Air models, which are both expected to feature an A15 chip and 5G support.

Article Link: Technology to Embed Face ID into MacBook Displays 'Doesn't Exist,' Says Gurman
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: ascender

youdontsay

macrumors regular
Jul 7, 2013
124
170
So it pretty much means that the notch is an aesthetic choice more than anything else. Maybe they could have made a small pill shaped cutout to accommodate for webcam and sensor. Maybe they didn’t to keep this as a “unique” feature for future iPhone?

In any case I still think Touch ID is better on a computer. So I’m not specifically waiting for faceID. Just a reduced notch.
 

Seanm87

macrumors 68000
Oct 10, 2014
1,819
3,262
So it pretty much means that the notch is an aesthetic choice more than anything else. Maybe they could have made a small pill shaped cutout to accommodate for webcam and sensor. Maybe they didn’t to keep this as a “unique” feature for future iPhone?

Exactly. Next years MacBook Pro will have the pill cut out for sure to entice people to upgrade.
 

TechRunner

macrumors 6502a
Oct 28, 2016
807
1,312
SW Florida, USA
The article mentions the thin laptop screens as the reason why FaceID hasn't been added to Macs. I'm curious: Is the technology to implement FaceID significantly different from that to use Windows Hello? I use WH on my XPS 9510, and that has a very thin screen (and a crappier camera than Macs have). I'm no engineer, so maybe that's legitimate according to the way Apple builds their systems? Or maybe the cost of the higher quality camera is extra space?
 
Last edited:

davie18

macrumors 6502
Dec 29, 2010
277
315
Couldn't they have the sensors and camera 'sticking out' from the screen, and then for when the screen closes have some osrt of cut out where they slot into? This would not only allow face ID but also allow for far better quality webcams surely?

Is the only reason not to do this because of aesthetics, or would there be other drawbacks?
 

MrCubes

macrumors regular
Dec 21, 2008
150
82
United Kingdom
The article mentions the thin laptop screens as the reason why FaceID hasn't been added to Macs. I'm curious: Is the technology to implement FaceID significantly different from that to use Windows Hello? I use WH on my XPS 9510, and that has a very thin screen (and a crappier camera than Macs have). I'm no engineer, so maybe that's legitimate according to the way Apple builds their systems?
My understanding of Windows Hello is that it is just a 2D photographic scan, using IR for low light - but otherwise just a normal webcam. As such it is not as secure, and, in particular, can be fooled by a photo of the user's face.

FaceID, on the other hand, uses its dot projector, combined with the IR camera, to produce a 3D map of the face and is, therefore, more secure. It's this component that is more problematic at these sizes.
 

szw-mapple fan

macrumors 68030
Jul 28, 2012
2,757
3,087
So it pretty much means that the notch is an aesthetic choice more than anything else. Maybe they could have made a small pill shaped cutout to accommodate for webcam and sensor. Maybe they didn’t to keep this as a “unique” feature for future iPhone?

In any case I still think Touch ID is better on a computer. So I’m not specifically waiting for faceID. Just a reduced notch.
It's not an aesthetic choice. If you look at the tear downs the notch is pretty much the size of the webcam component. Unlike on the iPhone/iPad there isn't enough thickness in the chassis to move the non-lens parts behind the LCD. The trade-off is either a smaller cutout with a thicker display or the current cutout and thinness. Same reason we won't get a faceID.
 

Relentless Power

macrumors Westmere
Jul 12, 2016
37,607
42,264
This article doesn’t make sense to me. Isn’t FaceID technology on an iPhone pretty thin? The iPhone certainly sends thin enough to be used as a laptop screen, no?
Well, I’m not sure it’s necessarily just about how ‘thin’ Face ID is, as much as it is that how many sensors/parts it actually contains to make Face ID possible that it houses:

Hence:
11D291CC-0C63-4263-81BC-59F13882F3EB.jpeg
 

newdeal

macrumors 68020
Oct 21, 2009
2,448
1,570
hopefully they don't decide to bring the iconic camera bulge to the MacBook also in order to allow them to use it
 
  • Like
Reactions: FelixDerKater
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.