Apple’s explanation for no Face ID on the MacBook Pro is nonsense

Napier Lopez is an American writer. He is interested in tech, science and photography and he likes to yo yo (show all). Napier Lopez is a New York City-based writer. He is interested in all things tech-related, including science and photography, and enjoys yo-yoing in his spare time. Follow him on Twitter
I promised myself that I would not write anything about the new MacBook Pros notch at 14-inch and 16 inch sizes. But it would be helpful if Apple did not keep giving me more reasons. This is it.

Like many others, I assumed that the notch would feature Face ID when I first saw it. As it turned out, the laptop uses dull old Touch ID instead. This unnecessarily large cutout may be a branding decision. Rumours circulating that the new MacBook Air will sport a notch are proving to be true.

I assumed that Face ID would be implemented soon, considering the size of the notch and the fact Face ID is a more convenient technology. Apple's decision to use Touch ID is a different one, according to them at least.

Joanna Stern spoke with two Apple executives for her MacBook Pro review. She was told that Touch ID on a laptop is easier because your hands are already on it.

What? Apple also said that there is no need for a touchscreen MacBook. This is just as silly.

Facial recognition on Windows is extremely convenient for laptops, as almost everyone who has used it on Windows Hello-equipped devices will attest. It's even more convenient on a laptop than a phone.

Touching the sensor with your finger is apparently more convenient than sitting in front your computer and doing nothing.

A fingerprint sensor is my preference as it's a single-step process. On an iPhone, you still need to swipe up after unlocking it with FaceID. This never made sense to me. Also, Face ID doesn't work well if your phone is flat on a desk.

These problems are not a problem on a laptop. Windows Hello PCs with facial detection usually have the device unlocked before I even get settled in front the laptop. The keyboard is not the first thing that I reach for when I am at my computer, but the mouse.

Apple's logic dictates that Face ID should be as easy as Touch ID, even ignoring all this. Your face is already visible in front of the display, so it shouldn't matter if you ignore it. Although it's Halloween, I don't think anyone is buying the new MacBook Pro without a head.

This is a serious problem. However, these are just nitpicky conveniences. For many people biometric authentication is unnecessary and a password works fine. Let me give Apple some more real explanations.

One of the most obvious is Face ID. Its current form is simply too large. Although you might think that a laptop is larger than a smartphone, the display lid is very thin and there is not much depth. Apple won't be able fit it using the same module from the iPhone 13 Pro. iFixit revealed that those components are too bulky so Apple would need to make a smaller Face ID module for the MacBook Pro.

Credit: iFixit. The new MacBook Pros lid is too big for the Face ID module from the iPhone 13.

Face ID is not available on the 2021 iMac, which really does not make it any less useful. This leads me to the second obvious explanation: Apple can add it in a year or so and market it as a reason to upgrade.

It is possible that Apple decided Face ID was too costly to implement, considering all the money spent on the redesign of the MacBook Pro and the fancy new chips. The webcam may not be up to Apple's security standards. For example, the 12MP selfie cam on an iPhone is compared to 2MP for a 1080P model.

One thing is certain: these reasons make more sense than the fact your hands are already at a keyboard. But only when Apple can make more from it.