The Future of the Touch Bar and Touch ID →


Chuq Von Rospach, writing down his thoughts about facial recognition replacing Touch ID:

With the iPhone 8, it looks like that new technology is here. And if this is true, that explains at least in part why the Touch ID sensor was downplayed in last fall’s announcements (don’t want to oversell something they know is going away) and why we don’t have a Touch Bar keyboard. It made no sense to build that product since a year later it would be replaced.

If I’m right, future Macs will use the infrared facial recognition, and they can embed those sensors in the bezel of the monitor on both the iMac and the laptops. This simplifies the problem of needing to secure the communication between the sensor and the Secure Enclave; by moving those sensors into the device and off the keyboard, everything gets a lot cleaner. And they can build a much less expensive keyboard with a Touch Bar on it that doesn’t require the level of communication security that would be required if it also had the Touch ID sensor.

There were also rumours about Apple being surprised about the number of older MacBook Pro (2015) orders when the late 2016 models came out. When added to the fact that the Touch Bar wasn’t universally well received, perhaps they re-evaluated their stance on the future of keyboards and will either scrap the Touch Bar entirely1 or make it optional. Either way, the Touch Bar is neither the future of keyboards, nor is it a sensible stop-gap to on-screen keyboards. In my use case, where I can’t even see it without moving my hands off the keyboard, it’s just an annoyance and I consider it to be bad design.

In retrospect, I believe had Apple just added Touch ID to every MacBook and keyboard2, skipping the Touch Bar entirely, they would have garnered much more praise, instead of the mixed reviews, which mostly focused on the Touch Bar itself, often mentioning Touch ID only in passing.

  1. Which is my hope.
  2. Perhaps making it optional, so as not to freak people out with higher prices.

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  1. Pingback: Michael Tsai - Blog - What’s Wrong with the Touch Bar