Whoa, now here’s a patent that’s actually worth discussing. (The majority of patents are boring, that’s the implication.) Apple filed a patent last September (but just now made public) that would turn give your iPhone or MacBook the ability to determine your identity, thereby increasing its security. That is, the device would have a built-in scanner, biometric or otherwise, that would determine if you’re really you, if that makes any sense at all. You touch the iPhone’s screen and it recognizes your fingerprint; hello, world! You place your palm on your MacBook’s palm rest and trackpad and the computer recognizes you; no password needed anymore!
Of course, like all patents, there’s no guarantee this feature will ever find its way to market; companies file patents just for the hell of it, or just to keep “the other guy” out of their backyard.
The scheme would be implemented in order to improve the security of your mobile devices. Passwords work well, but not everyone bothers to password-protect their MacBook, yet they sure as hell don’t want Prying Eyes looking inside their Home folder. By putting weaving a biometric scanner into the everyday use of a MacBook, Apple improves the security of every laptop leaving the factory.
Anything that improves a computer’s security, and as transparently as possible (in order to get Joe Public to play along) is okay in my book.