For years, people have speculated about whether Apple would ditch macOS in favor of iOS, shedding desktops and turning laptops into something like an iPad Pro in a fixed clamshell. A version of iOS has apparently come to the Mac, but not in a way that anybody expected.
- The new Touch Pad has a separate brain, a custom T1 ARM processor system-on-a-chip (SoC), that looks to be running a stripped-down variant of iOS, possibly derived from watchOS.
- Apple has paired Touch ID in iOS with its custom Secure Enclave chip, a tamper-resistent security vault that’s separate from but intertwined with an iPhone or iPad’s processing circuitry.
- There’s a Secure Enclave chip in every Touch Bar, just as in every iOS device with Touch ID.
- When you enroll your fingerprints in Touch ID, the underlying data is pushed into Secure Enclave, and can’t be pulled back out. When you touch the sensor after that, the characteristics of your fingerprint get sent to Secure Enclave
- Secure Enclave is used for other purposes, including storing and processing authorization information for Apple Pay.
- the T1 also controls the ISP (image signal processor) for the FaceTime camera in the MacBook Prorouting camera access and data via a more heavily secured separate processing system reduces the surface area substantially of an attacker trying to gain access.