Apple has been granted a new patent suggesting that Face ID is coming to Macs soon. The patent could use the Mac’s camera to automatically wake up when its camera sensor locates users. The new feature is going to be a more intelligent version of the Face ID which is currently used on iPhones.
This is the official description for the patent:
“One embodiment may take the form of a method of operating a computing device in a reduced power state and collecting a first set of data from at least one sensor. Based on the first set of data, the computing device determines a probability that an object is within a threshold distance of the computing device and, if so, the device activates at least one secondary sensor to collect a second set of data. Based on the second set of data, the device determines if the object is a person. If it is a person, a position of the person relative to the computing device is determined and the computing device changes its state based on the position of the person. If the object is not a person, the computing device remains in a reduced power state.”
In other words, the new functionality will use the camera to detect users and log them in, even when the computer is in a “reduced power state,” or in Sleep mode. In this way Apple can add new features and let them work in the background.
Despite the fact that the company uses the generic term ‘computing device,’ which applies equally to iPhones or iPads, the new patent is illustrated with a computer drawing and the functionality described fits well with Power Nap.
Power Nap lets current Macs perform certain background tasks while sleeping. The main idea here is that when you do things like updating your calendar, notes, photos, and etc, they will be ready as soon as you wake your Mac.
The new patent would appear to extend Power Nap’s capabilities to using the camera to look out for someone approaching the Mac. When detecting a person, the machine powers-up face-recognition functionality to see if it recognizes them as the Mac owner. In case it does, the functionality wakes up and unlocks the Mac at once.
Despite the granted patent, at this point, no one can say when this functionality will be supported for real. However, there is no doubt this would be a cool feature for every Apple user.
Photo Credits: USPTO