Apple may be bringing one of the iPhone most controversial design features to the Mac

Apple Mac iPhone

  • Apple has filed a patent application for a biometric authentication system for laptops that sounds similar to Face ID.
  • Drawings in the document also suggest that laptops with this technology would feature a “notch” cutout above the screen, just like on Apple’s recent iPhones.
  • The notch has become a regular fixture on Apple’s new iPhones, but it drew some criticism back when the iPhone X originally launched.

Apple’s controversial “notch” cutout that sits above the iPhone’s screen has become a staple of the iPhone’s appearance ever since the iPhone X launched in 2017.

Now, it looks like Apple could be considering bringing that notch cutout to the Mac as well. A recent patent application details a system for bringing Face ID, Apple’s facial recognition system, to the Mac. The filing was first spotted by blogs Apple Insider and Patently Apple.

The application covers a method of biometric authentication for laptops that would include sensors capable of emitting light at the user and then detecting the pattern of light reflected back to verify their identity. That sounds similar to Face ID, which is found on certain iPhone and iPad models and works by capturing an infrared image of the user’s face and creating a depth map.

Based on images found within the filing, it also looks like Apple would redesign the Mac’s display housing to include a notch just like the one found on its most recent iPhones. All of Apple’s new iPhones, starting with the iPhone X and later, have adopted the notch cutout for housing the Face ID sensors and the front camera.

Apple’s patent filing suggests the company could consider taking a similar approach if it were to bring Face ID to the Mac. The document includes images of of both Mac laptops and what appears to be a standalone Mac monitor with the notch-shaped cutout.

Apple Mac iPhone

The “notch” was met with some criticism when Apple first launched the iPhone X in 2017, with The Outline roasting it immediately by calling Apple “bad at design” and other outlets like The Verge and CNET questioning Apple’s design decision.  But the “notch” quickly caught on, not just among Apple device but also across competing Android phones. 

Apple Mac iPhone

Adding the iPhone’s Face ID and screen design to the Mac could bring more continuity to Apple’s product line, making it easier for the company to create consistent features and experiences across the Mac, iPhone, and iPad

It’s also important to remember that Apple’s patent filings and applications don’t necessarily result in future products. Apple has filed many patents over the years for technologies and gadgets that haven’t launched, like iPhones with wraparound displays and a wearable device with a screen that wraps around your wrist.