Imagining the possibilities with Apple silicon

The M1 Macs have arrived. The benchmarks are in. And what we’ve seen is nothing less than mind-blowing performance from Apple’s own silicon, compared to the Intel chips that came before. But this, as we know, is just the beginning. The M1 is only the first in a whole family of chips that will be powering Macs from now on.

As impressive as these new processors—and the improvements they bring in speed and battery life—are, some have felt underwhelmed by the new Macs, given that they look pretty much identical to the models they’re replacing. This was by design, of course, to impart a feeling of continuity from Apple’s existing models, assuring customers that fundamentally nothing has changed.

But as we look forward to the next generation of Macs that are no doubt working their way down the pipe even as we speak, it’s time to start thinking about what other features Apple’s unprecedented control over the hardware and software might enable the company to bring to its most venerable product line.

Face the music

As an owner of a brand new M1 MacBook Air—replacing my six-year-old model—I’ve been delighted with the addition of Touch ID. Being able to quickly and easily authenticate for access to everything from systemwide settings to my 1Password vault is great, and way better than laboriously typing my administrator password every time.

But.

I have to admit that I find myself missing Face ID. Yes, it’s not always perfect—sometimes it can’t recognize me because of the mask I wear wherever I go or other times because I’m all bundled up against the encroaching winter. Sometimes I still need to still enter my password like I’m from olden times. But on the whole, Face ID still often feels magical—like my device knows me.

macbook pro touchid Apple

Touch ID is nice. Face ID is better.

Face ID certainly seems like it’s ripe for inclusion the Mac in the near future. Apple took some flack for not beefing up the front-facing cameras in the new M1 MacBooks, but to me that suggests that it’s planning a more substantive update. And while simply updating the camera to 1080p would help, why limit yourself that when you could instead bring the TrueDepth camera package and Face ID to the Mac?

Doing so would also solve the problem of the lack of the biometric authentication on the iMac. While the idea of an external keyboard with Touch ID has been floated, I have to imagine there are some security concerns with incorporating the biometric sensors on an external piece of hardware. Face ID would obviate that, by being built right into the main display. Plus, there’s no better feeling than waking up your Mac and having it recognize you.