Apple considers biometric authentication for Apple Watch, Mac series
Based on an Apple TV report, Apple is allegedly considering two approaches to unlock Apple Watch with biometric fingerprint recognition, either by adding a fingerprint sensor to the Digital crown or by adding a fingerprint sensor under the screen. The feature might be integrated in the 2021 series.
For now, Apple Watch users have to type in a PIN code or set it to unlock when the iPhone it is connected to is unlocked, and the watch locks itself when it is removed. It does not have an option for biometric authentication.
Other rumors have claimed Apple is considering adding in-screen fingerprint sensors on iPhones, but chances for this to be implemented on iPhone 12 are slim, according to 9to5Mac. Others have said the company might add a fingerprint sensor on the power button of low-end iPhones.
Other features that might be added with watchOS 7 are blood oxygen sensor and sleep tracking, as well as Siri upgrades.
According to The Verifier, Apple Watch Series 2 will not support the watchOS 7 update, and likely neither will Series 1. Major hardware changes are less likely to happen, but Wi-Fi 6 and upgraded battery life may be added.
Apple watchOS 7 is likely to be introduced at the WWDC Keynote in June, which is now an online-only event.
Face ID biometric authentication coming to MacBooks
Apple Insider reports that, based on a patent application, the company is also considering adding the iPhone’s face ID biometric authentication to MacBook Pro and iMac.
Titled “Light Recognition Module for Determining a User of a Computing Device,” the patent does not directly mention Face ID for MacBooks, but instead mentions a light recognition module and a laptop. The patent application discusses how sensitive information is kept and how laptops are now used for more sophisticated tasks. One drawing also shows an iMac-style computer.
“By performing these complex functions, sensitive data associated with these users may be gathered and/or stored by these computing devices,” says Apple. “To prevent unauthorized users from accessing this sensitive data, these computing devices may incorporate systems and mechanisms for authenticating users.”
“A light pattern recognition module that may be incorporated within a computing device (e.g., a laptop computer, a notebook, a desktop computer, etc.)” will ensure recognition accuracy.
Apple suggests adding the Face ID module in a partition which can be “a notch, a circle, an ellipse, a polygonal shape, a series of polygonal shapes, a curvilinear shape, or the like.”
At the moment, it is not clear if the feature will make it to a product release, though Apple Insider suggests it is reasonable to expect it to be launched in a Mac soon.