We first reported on an Apple patent for Face ID on Macs back in 2017, before we knew what Apple would call the feature when it debuted in the iPhone X. This patent is today granted.
a more intelligent version of Face ID than is currently used on iPhones …
The granted patent can use the Mac camera to do two things. First, it will avoid timing-out in idle mode when there is someone in front of the machine.
Many computing devices are equipped with power-saving features / modes that are intended to reduce power consumption when a user is not using the devices. Often, these power-saving features are implemented through timers that count a specific time period from the user last delivering input to the device. For example, a particular device may be configured to enter a sleep mode, or another mode that uses less power than a fully operational mode when a user has not provided input in five minutes.
However, sometimes a device may enter the power saving features / modes while a user is still using the device. For example, the power saving features can be added because the user could not provide input within the time period specified for the timer while reading content on the device, watching a movie or listening to music. In addition, recovery from the power saving feature / mode may take time, even requiring the user to provide credentials, and generally it can be a nuisance to the user.
The second function is written in quite close patents:
An embodiment may take the form of a method of operating a data processing device to provide presence functionality. The method may include operating the data processing apparatus in a reduced power state and collecting a first data set from a first sensor or group of sensors. Based on the first data set, the data device determines a probability or probability that an object is located near the device. In addition or alternatively, the data processing device may make a hard decision about proximity to an object, for example, it may determine whether the object is within a threshold distance from the data processing device and whether the object is within the threshold distance and / or is likely proximity to the device, the device activates a secondary sensor. to collect a second dataset. Based on the second dataset, the device determines whether the object is a person. If the object is a person, the device determines a position of the person relative to the data unit and performs a status change in the data processing unit based on the position of the person relative to the data unit. If the object is not a person, the data device remains in a reduced power state.
My reading of this and the accompanying illustrations is that the Mac can automatically wake up and sign you in, even if it is in sleep mode when you approach it.
Although Apple uses the generic term & # 39; data device & # 39; which may apply equally to an iPhone or iPad, the patent is illustrated with a drawing of a computer – and the functionality described fits well with Power Nap.  Power Nap allows current Macs to perform certain background tasks while sleeping. The idea is that by doing things like updating your calendar, photos, notes, and so on, even when your Mac is in sleep mode, it will be ready for you to get to work as soon as you wake it up.
patent appears to extend Power Naps's capabilities to use the camera to look for someone approaching the Mac. If it detects a person, it will activate face recognition functionality to see if it recognizes them as the Mac owner. Doing so can completely wake up and unlock your Mac.
With Face ID now supported on both iPhone and iPad, it doesn't appear to be coming to Mac either. Whether this advanced functionality will be supported is impossible to say: As we always note, Apple patents many things it never does. But this will certainly be a cool feature that can wow people with a Mac keynote, so I'd say there's a decent chance this one will make the cut.
A separate patent referencing Face ID on Mac also illustrated Touch Bar on an external keyboard.
Concept Image: Viktor Kádár
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