Thursday, Aug 05, 2021, 16:42 Hardware

Apple Releases Magic Keyboard With Touch ID As Standalone Accessory

Touch ID has been on the iPhone for close to 8 years now. The technology only made its way over to the Mac at the end of 2016 with the MacBook Pro 16". Since then, it was suspected that an external keyboard with Touch ID would be planned as a standalone product, however, up until now – such a keyboard was only available with the iMac M1. Well, that finally changed as of Monday. Without any announcement or fanfare, the "Magic Keyboard with Touch ID for Mac models with Apple Silicon" was released on the Apple Store Online. Now, it's finally possible for owners of other Macs to own an external keyboard with Touch ID. As the product name clarifies, the requirement is an Apple Silicon Mac, a Mac with Apple's new M-chips and not the previous Intel Macs planned to be discontinued. This indicates that the "secure enclave" of the M-chip is likely a requirement for the feature. macOS 11.4 or newer is a system requirement for the new keyboard.

Magic Keyboard With Touch ID – With & Without Numpad
For US$179, the Magic Keyboard with Touch ID and Numeric Keypad can be purchased from the Apple Store Online. There's a version for those who have no need for the numeric keypad with only the keyboard and Touch ID available for US$149.

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Other Details
The product's description states that the device can last about a month on a full charge. The keyboard includes a USB-C lightning cable for charging purposes. The keyboard weighs either 243 or 369 grams, depending on the model (with or without numpad). However, customers need to seriously consider the price difference between the Magic Keyboard models with Touch ID and the standard Magic Keyboard models. The standard Magic Keyboard (w/o numeric keypad) costs only US$99. Thus, the price difference between the 2 base Magic Keyboards, with vs. without Touch ID, is US$50. Thus, customers need to seriously consider whether the convenience of Touch ID is really worth US$50 to them, or whether they can live with unlocking their computers in the old fashioned password entry manner.

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