Apple's Patent-Pending invention for Face ID for Macs may be coming to market if hidden code in macOS Big Sur pans out
In late March Patently Apple posted a patent report titled "Apple is working on bringing Face ID to Macs for user Authentication, Face Gesture Recognition and more." The patent laid out the camera module providing Face ID technologies such light pattern recognition and a dot projector that will be used for unlocking computers along with capturing face gestures and emotions for Animojis and Memojis. The patent covered both the iMac (desktop) and MacBooks as presented in the patent figures below.
Today code was discovered by 9to5Mac in macOS "Big Sur Beta 3 that intends to support 'PearlCamera.' You may not remember, but this is the internal code-name Apple uses for the TrueDepth camera and Face ID, which was first revealed with the iPhone X leaks in 2017.
Codes such as 'FaceDetect' and 'BioCapture' found within this extension confirms that Apple is preparing macOS to operate with Face ID, as these codes are similar to those used by iOS. We investigated and this Face ID extension was clearly built for macOS, and it’s not some remnant code from Catalyst technology."
Interestingly at one point in time Apple Developers weren't allow to make such revelations public. One snippet from Apple Developer documentation used to state the following: "Nondisclosure and Nonuse of Apple Confidential Information. Unless otherwise expressly agreed or permitted in writing by Apple, you agree not to disclose, publish, or disseminate any Apple Confidential Information to anyone other than to other Registered Apple Developers ..."
Whether it's legal or not, which is a discussion for another day, we now have code snippets that breathes life into Apple's patent-pending invention that all but confirms that such a feature is going to be reality in the not-too-distant future. Will it make it into Apple's new iMacs with Apple Silicon? Only time will tell.