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Apple hits a snag on bringing Face ID to redesigned iMac for 2021

While Apple has long been rumored to be working on bringing its Face ID authentication system to the Mac, it appears that this change may not be happening in 2021. Originally rumored to be part of the 2021 iMac refresh — which will feature slimmer bezels, a transition to Apple’s in-house silicon instead of Intel processors, and the removal of the infamous chin in the desktop’s design — new reports suggest that Face ID may not be ready in time this year.

Instead, Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman reported that Face ID will likely appear on the second generation of iMac with Apple silicon, which could indicate that the 2022 desktop will get the biometric technology. The Face ID facial authentication system first made its debut several years ago when Apple replaced Touch ID on the redesigned iPhone X.

Unfortunately, without Face ID and lacking a built-in Touch ID fingerprint sensor — which is found on the company’s notebook lineup, like the MacBook Pro — this means that Mac users looking to pick up an iMac this year will continue to have to rely on entering a password to log in to their desktop, authenticate apps, and visit websites.

A big refresh is coming

Apple has been rumored to be working on a big refresh to its consumer desktop for 2021, featuring new silicon under the hood and a radical design change that will make it more modern. Like the recently released iPad and iPhone models, the iMac is said to be getting a new flatter and more angular aesthetic, which means the bulbous back will be gone in favor of a look that’s not unlike that used on the company’s pricy Pro Display XDR.

And though unconfirmed, it has been previously reported that Apple will also shave off the huge chin from the current iMac in favor of a more uniform look with slimmer screen bezels. One of the iMac models will feature a 23- or 24-inch display to replace either the current 21.5- or 27-inch models on the market today.

It’s still unclear which version of Apple’s silicon model will make its way onto the desktop. Apple’s M1 — which is now on the Mac Mini, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro — is a candidate, but some recent reports suggest that Apple may begin transitioning to an M2 processor. Apple is also rumored to be working on improved graphics capabilities for its silicon, potentially launching a new chip with up to 16 or 32 graphics cores, which would help the company cater to creatives as it continues to shift away from Intel processors and GPUs made by AMD on current systems.

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Chuong Nguyen
Silicon Valley-based technology reporter and Giants baseball fan who splits his time between Northern California and Southern…
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