Apple patent hints at Touch ID/fingerprint sensing for Macs

Future Macs — both laptops and desktops — have gain the Touch ID/fingerprint sensing technology such as Apple's latest iPhones and iPads offer. The company has been granted a patent (number 9,158,957) by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for a "finger sensing apparatus using hybrid matching and associated methods."

Touch ID is a fingerprint recognition feature available on the iPhone 5S and later, iPad Air 2, the upcoming iPad Pro, and the iPad mini 3 and later. The feature lets users unlock their device, as well as make purchases in the various Apple digital media stores and to authenticate Apple Pay online or in apps.

The patent filing includes a mockup(pictured) that illustrated of "a perspective view of an electronic device in the form of a laptop computer including a finger sensor and enhanced security." Touch ID/fingerprint sensing could be implemented on the keyboard or touchpad of a MacBook Pro, MacBook Air or MacBook. Likewise, it could be implemented on the keyboard, Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad of an iMac, Mac mini or Mac Pro.

Here's Apple's summary of the invention: "A finger sensing apparatus may include a finger sensor including an integrated circuit (IC) substrate, an array of finger sensing elements on the IC substrate, and match circuitry on the IC substrate for performing final finger matching. The finger sensing apparatus may also include a host platform cooperating with the array of finger sensing elements for performing at least one finger prematch function. In addition, the finger sensor and the host platform may implement at least one security function therebetween. The at least one security function may include a watermarking function, and/or an encryption/decryption function."