In an interview with Wall Street Journal Joanna Stern, a couple of Apple executives, addressed what is probably the most controversial and talked about the features that are missing on the Mac – Face ID and touch screen input.
One of the biggest criticisms of the Mac is the lack of Face ID. Since the launch of Face ID on the iPhone X, some have wondered if Apple will ever bring it to the Mac. A report earlier this year suggested that this would happen in the future, but the new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro with notches and a lack of Face ID have returned the debate to the mainstream.
Speaking about why the Mac lacks Face ID, Tom Boger, Apple’s vice president of marketing for iPad and Mac products, told Stern that Touch ID is more convenient on the Mac because the user’s hands are already on the keyboard.
The “Touch ID” in the upper right corner of the keyboard allows users to easily authenticate by simply placing their finger on the sensor. However, Face ID on a Mac would probably be even easier, as the Mac would unlock when the user looks at the screen, similar to the behavior of Face ID on iPhone and iPad.
A Face ID? When I stare at the giant notch on my laptop, I wonder why I can’t unlock the machine with my face. Boger said Touch ID is more convenient on a laptop because your hands are already on the keyboard.
Another hot topic of debate around the Mac was the capabilities of the touch screen. The idea was that if Macs got a touch input, it would cannibalize the sales of the “iPad”. John Ternus, Apple’s senior vice president of hardware engineering, seems to agree and says it’s not something Apple thinks it should do.
“We’re making the best touchscreen computer on the iPad. It’s fully optimized for that. And the Mac is fully optimized for indirect input. We didn’t really feel a reason to change that,” John Ternus, Apple’s senior vice president of hardware engineering, told me.
Ternus and Boger also addressed more specific questions about the newly made 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro devices and Apple silicone in general. Recent MacBooks have RAM that cannot be upgraded by the user, so the amount of RAM cannot be further upgraded if the user determines that he needs additional memory than the one that came with the computer.
Both executives say Apple’s silicon “unified memory architecture” enables higher performance on Macs with Apple silicon, suggesting that similar performance levels would not be achievable without UMA.
The new MacBook Pro restored many of the features enjoyed by Mac users, which were taken away during the redesign of the 2016 laptop. Most importantly, Apple restored additional ports such as HDMI and MagSafe, removed the Touch Bar, improved screens and more.
Speaking in general about the reversal of changes this year, Boger told Stern that Apple always “listens to its customers,” which meant it eventually had to undo some of its previous Mac design decisions.
“We’re constantly listening to our customers, and with this new line of MacBook Pros, we’ve decided to make some changes because we’re working hard on the Mac,” Tom Boger, Apple’s vice president of marketing for Mac and iPad products, told me.
Run it through an executive-to-English translator and it turns out pretty clear: we were wrong.
Throughout the article, Stern also gives an overview of the new MacBook Pros, welcoming the return of multiple ports, full-size function keys, and more.
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