Apple has a long history of moving the technology industry forward; sometimes by leaps and bounds, often by kicking and screaming, but the record is impressive. Point and click on the Mac. Apple retail stores. Music on iPods. iTunes Music Store. iPhone, iPad, Watch, AirPods, et al. And that’s just the list of hardware.
As a hardware company, Apple doesn’t make much money on software, but few technologies the company has introduced in recent years point out the need for integrated hardware and software than Touch ID, the diminutive fingerprint sensor Apple uses in iPhone, iPad, and MacBook Pro.
What’s better than Touch ID?
Goodbye, password; hello fingerprint touch. Touch ID is that easy, and better yet, it can be used by third party app developers. A couple of useful examples come to mind. 1Password and Airmail, but there are many others. Passwords are still used on Apple’s devices, but connected to Touch ID so a fingerprint does what they keyboard and memory used to do.
Apple Pay also makes use of Touch ID so you can make purchases, either online, or at the point of checkout. And, again, without much effort. Touch the Home button of your iPhone to buy, or just tap Apple Watch and you’re done. No password, no fishing around for credit card or iPhone. Tap and done.
Within the last 60 days before a new iPhone’s introduction, the rumors about Apple’s next creation start to gel; the crazy ones seems to melt away, while those rumors that make sense and are probable begin to shape the discussion; probably thanks to Apple’s own PR department leaking reality rumors to help set the expectations and to curb eventual disappointment when rumor doesn’t meet reality.
The latest says Apple could not get Touch ID to work in the upcoming iPhone 8 (or, whatever it will be called) thanks to an edge-to-edge display. Maybe so, maybe not, but Touch ID is a staple at Apple, so where will it go? On the backside like Samsung’s fingerprint sensor?
No, those same rumor mongers say Apple has 3D sensors built into the next iPhone so unlocking security and ostensibly purchasing security will be handled by facial recognition.
Personally, I thought the trio of Touch ID, facial recognition, and voice recognition with a keyword would be close to the ultimate unlock and Apple Pay method, but maybe this is a start.
Something similarly easy and simple already works with Apple Watch. Once you’re logged into iCloud on Mac and Watch all you need to do is walk up to your Mac and it unlocks. And it works. And there’s almost no effort involved.
Sweet, right? But there’s a flaw in the ointment (a lovely malaphor if there ever was one). How about something within macOS High Sierra or iOS 11 or 12 to help with the gazillion websites that require a login with user ID, password, and who knows what else. 1Password helps, but there’s effort involved.
Apple is good at diminishing and removing excess effort, so we need the company to help make passwords to become so 1999.