Apple has been granted a second and more expansive patent covering its integration of a fingerprint sensor into the power button of a laptop.
It’s a vision that was realized in the fourth generation MacBook Pro launched in the autumn of 2016. Apple’s fingerprint scanning Touch ID system was well established on its smartphones by then, but the idea of bringing it to one of Apple’s signature laptops was something new; and indeed, laptops featuring embedded fingerprint scanners are still relatively uncommon today, at least in comparison to fingerprint scanning smartphones.
As Patently Apple reports, Apple was granted its first patent for the MacBook Touch ID system in November. This latest approval concerns a patent that seems to cover the entire implementation in fine detail, illustrating the various components involved in bringing Touch ID into the laptop’s power button to enable access control for the device. The patent application was first filed in Q3 of 2016.
Of course, a lot has changed since then, and this patent may soon be more or less irrelevant with respect to Apple’s new devices. With its launch of the iPhone X last autumn, the company signalled that it was shifting focus to facial recognition with its new Face ID system, and the company is expected to make this the primary mode of biometric authentication on the iPhone and iPad devices in the pipeline for this year. If that’s true, then it’s probably only a matter of time before Face ID comes Apple’s MacBook line, making Touch ID’s future in that domain very uncertain.
Source: Patently Apple