Apple patent application suggests Touch ID could be headed to Macs

iPad Touch ID

With the release of the iPad Air 2 (and next-generation iPad mini with Retina display), one of the most common rumors is the inclusion of Touch ID. Now, a new patent could outline Apple’s broader plan for their secure feature.

Touch ID was introduced alongside the iPhone 5s. It’s a way for someone to use their fingerprint as a way to secure their device. It makes a device more secure, but it also can block purchases made through your iTunes account. It’s expected to be part of the iPhone 6, as well as the next-generation iPad models. However, it looks like Apple’s plans won’t stop there.

As originally published by Patently Apple, a new patent application from Apple points to a broader use case for Touch ID, extending beyond the Home buttons on our iPhones and iPads. In the image above, it showcases how Apple is outlining plans to put Touch ID not only in the Home button as we see it now, but also one that’s connected to the headphone port.

The patent application envisions a world where Apple can embed Touch ID on an accessory device, including USB peripherals. Indeed, the patent application outlines USB as a “connector aperture,” but this raises standard red flags considering iOS devices don’t offer USB ports. Then, the next logical step is something that integrates with Macs, which, obviously, do offer USB ports. This would suggest Apple is at least in part considering bringing Touch ID to Macs.

However, how that might be done, with an integrated area on the Mac itself, or on a keyboard, or even on a stand-alone accessory is anyone’s guess. It’s worth noting that there are tweaks out there that give iPhone 5s owners the ability to unlock their Mac with Touch ID on their iPhone 5s, so it will be interesting to see what Apple can do with the technology.

If you could use Touch ID to unlock your Mac, would you? And what’s the best way to implement it?

[via Patently Apple]