Intel wants to replace all your passwords with Touch ID-style biometrics


Touch ID
Photo: Apple
Photo: Apple

Touch ID might have just made it to iPads, but Intel wants to go one step further: bringing enhanced biometric passwords to PCs, which it plans to do before the end of the year.

“Your biometrics basically eliminate the need for you to enter passwords for Windows log in and eventually all your websites ever again,” Kirk Skaugen, senior vice president and general manager of the PC Client Group at Intel, recently revealed.

The software, which will arrive courtesy of the Intel-owned McAfee, will allow PC users to replace the 18 passwords that the average user reportedly has with a combination of fingerprint, gesture, face and voice recognition.

While there have been USB PC fingerprint scanners available for a while, the idea that gesture, face and voice recognition, alongside the equivalent of Touch ID, could be used to log into apps and other services — rather than just access the computer itself — is certainly exciting.

It’s an area that Apple has previously explored. Earlier this year, the company filed a patent describing a fingerprint scanner that plugs into a 3.5mm jack or USB port, alluding to the possibility of Touch ID for Mac. As Apple Pay takes advantage of Touch ID in exciting new ways, the possible use of biometrics to carry out payments on a desktop would be immensely useful.

Kirk Skaugen also describes how from next year onwards Intel-based PC and tablet owners will no longer need to carry around awkward power bricks and cables, since the company is working on wireless charging, display, docking and quick data transfer. The wireless technology will be the result of WiGig, which is faster than 802.11ac Wi-Fi.

Intel says that it hopes to put the wireless charging technology in cafes, lounges and other common gathering areas — thereby also eliminating the need for laptops to feature USB or power ports.

Given Apple’s love of eliminating needless ports from its products, if the technology works as well as Intel hopes it will, this is definitely something I could see Cupertino exploring.