Apple bringing facial recognition from iPhone to Macs and more, rumour suggests

Apple hopes to add its facial recognition technology to all of its larger products, according to a new rumour.

Since it was released with the iPhone X in 2017, the Face ID sensor has come to most of Apple’s devices. It has also made its way to some iPads, with the Pro models also getting the same sensors.

But the rest of Apple’s line-up is yet to benefit from Apple’s facial recognition developments. Apple has brought its fingerprint sensor, known as TouchID, to some of its latest Macs – but that is the only biometric sensor that any of its computers have.

Adding facial recognition to computers like the Mac would allow it to check who is using it as quickly as on the phone, and without any input necessary from users. As such, it could also help do away with the notoriously insecure system of passwords.

A new rumour suggests that is due to happen “within a couple of years”. It is not due to happen this year but will arrive soon, according to Mark Gurman, who has revealed a number of Apple’s major plans in recent years.

Over the same time period, all of Apple’s iPhones and iPads will make the same change, he suggested. The iPhone SE and non-Pro versions of the iPad still use the older fingerprint sensing technology.

Mr Gurman has previously indicated that the redesigned iMac was intended to include Face ID, but that the plan was delayed. It is more difficult to include the technology in the Macs because their displays are actually thinner than smaller products like the iPhone, he noted.

In recent years, Apple has worked to bring a number of hardware developments that first debuted in the iPhone to its Macs. Perhaps most famous among them is the M1, the first chip it designed itself, which borrows heavily from its work on the processors in the iPhone and iPad.

In future versions of the iPhone, Apple could embed the technology used for the facial recognition into the screens themselves to do away with the notch at the top of the phones, Mr Gurman suggests. That could be a way for the company to differentiate the more expensive handsets from the cheaper ones.

Another reputed analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo, has suggested that the technology could be ready to bring that update to iPhones by 2023.

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