Touch ID has a problem living in Apple’s view of technology gadgets of the future. You get Touch ID on iPhone, iPad, and even the MacBook Pro. Now. For the most part, it works very well. Just touch the Home button to gain access to your device, or buy something at an Apple Pay equipped retailer.
What’s that aforementioned view of Apple’s future gadgets?
We’re still required to put out some effort to log into our devices and Apple seems to think there’s an even better way. Rumor Street says Apple’s newest iPhone will not have Touch ID because the screen will be an edge-to-edge-to-edge nearly bezel-less device without enough room for the visibly crass and so yesterday Home button. Worse, Apple couldn’t seem to make Touch ID work on an iPhone that is mostly screen with no room for a scanner button, so the company plans to introduce 3D facial recognition.
First, the good news. 3D face recognition may be automatic and work very well. Because it’s 3D and comes with an eye scanner it can tell when you want to unlock your iPhone and when you don’t. Various news outlets which specialize in Apple rumors say the new 3D feature is fast and actually more secure than Touch ID, and because it’s 3D a photo of your face may not work to unlock the device (but I can see the F.B.I. hiring plenty of people who make lifelike masks).
Second, the bad news. A 3D face recognition iPhone means those Touch ID devices you love and use so much– iPhone, iPad, Mac– are yesterday’s news; already outdated technology that will make way for 3D sensors in future iPhones, iPads, and, yes, even the Mac.
The high end MacBook Pro models are the only Macs with Touch ID built into the keyboard. If 3D facial recognition works even better, it’s likely future Macs will not come with Touch ID at all.
Instead of the iPhone, iPad, or Mac user putting out minimal effort to invoke a password or buy something with the touch of a finger to a button, Apple is making security come to you. Simply look at your iPhone’s screen, and it would unlock. Now we know at least one of the cool features of future iPads and Macs, right?
That brings up an interesting scenario that is likely to play out in the future when criminals and terrorists use iPhones to commit their nefarious deeds. Let’s say someone robs a bank, and they and their 3D facial recognition-equipped iPhone are captured as a suspect by the F.B.I. In the olden days, unlocking the iPhone was problematic. In the future, all that would be required for the F.B.I. to unlock an iPhone with facial recognition would be to sit the suspect down in a chair and point the iPhone at their face.
That just seems too easy.
Parents could unlock their child’s iPhone by holding it in front of their face while they sleep, or while they’re being scolded as a suspect in wrongdoing.
That just seems too easy.
Apple will need to build in some kind of safe guard to make such technology easy to use for us, but not so easy to use for someone else.