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Auto Unlock on your Mac hints at future MacBook Pro with Touch ID

TechCrunch TechCrunch 13/06/2016 Romain Dillet

Apple just unveiled macOS 12 at WWDC, the next version of Apple’s operating system. Among other things, the company announced a brand new way to unlock your Mac. Instead of typing your long and boring password dozens of times a day, your Mac will be automatically unlocked if you’re wearing an Apple Watch.

While Apple said it would work with your iPhone too, the company didn’t mention how it would do it. The answer is Touch ID. When you wear an Apple Watch, you can already unlock it with your phone using Touch ID. Once it’s unlocked, it remains unlocked as long as the Apple Watch is on your wrist. But if you remove your watch from your wrist, the Apple Watch sensor sees that it’s no longer secured to your wrist, and you’ll have to unlock it again.

Today, it seems like Apple voluntarily didn’t mention how Auto Unlock would work with your phone. Because the only way to make sure that somebody else isn’t bringing your phone next to your computer is Touch ID. Once your phone is unlocked, the Mac can Auto Unlock.

This is interesting as it hints at a potential Touch ID sensor in your Mac. Rumor has it that Apple should announce a new MacBook Pro shortly. While WWDC is supposed to be all about software, the MacBook Pro should launch imminently.

This MacBook Pro could feature a slimmer body. In order to do this, the company is probably going to use the new USB-C standard across the board. The retina currently MacBook Pro is roughly as thick as a USB port, or a Thunderbolt port, or an HDMI port — these three types of ports are more or less the same thickness. All these ports could be replaced by USB-C ports.

In addition to this slimmer design and the latest Intel processors, the MacBook Pro could get a Touch ID sensor. It’s nice that you won’t have to type your password again. But it could also open other possibilities, such as Apple Pay on the Mac for online purchases.

The last addition could be a bit more surprising. Apple could be adding a tiny OLED touchscreen above your keyboard thanks a new, smaller metal-injection molded hinge. While Apple has never made laptops with touchscreens, this narrow touch screen would feature shortcuts and could change depending on the app you’re using.

It’s too bad we probably won’t see the new laptop today, but today’s software announcement is an encouraging sign for MacBook Pro users.

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