Apple may finally be ready to introduce its Touch ID fingerprint sensor to the MacBook — more than two years after it made its first appearance on the iPhone.
A new patent published today describes “Finger sensing apparatus using hybrid matching and associated methods,” and depicts an embedded Touch ID sensor on a future MacBook, although it also leaves to the door open for the same technology to be featured on an iMac keyboard.
The biometric technology has been particularly successful on Apple’s iOS devices, most recently thanks to Apple Pay, which uses Touch ID for payment authentication. While a Mac obviously wouldn’t carry this functionality, it would certainly be a neat feature that many users would doubtless appreciate.
Apple actually filed the paperwork for a Mac-based Touch ID way back in September 2007, although it is only now that the patent has been published.
The timing is certainly convenient for Apple. Last week Microsoft showed off its new Surface Pro 4, which blurs the line between tablet and laptop, and incorporates a fingerprint sensor. With Microsoft throwing down the gauntlet it makes perfect sense that Apple would want to follow suit as quickly as possible.
In the meantime, Mac users who are eager to use fingerprint scanning to unlock their computers can use third-party apps such as FingerKey, which links your iPhone to your Mac via Bluetooth 4.0. It’s not such an intuitive solution as today’s patent, but if you really can’t wait…