Apple unveiled the Touch Bar on the new MacBook Pro. Apple unveiled the Touch Bar on the new MacBook Pro. Apple unveiled the Touch Bar on the new MacBook Pro. (Photo: Apple)

Apple’s newest laptop line has roots in Israel

TouchID sensor adds biometric authentication to MacBooks.

Apple unwrapped its latest line of computers today at its headquarters in Cupertino. This marks the largest overhaul of its laptop line since 2012.

While the new MacBooks have lots of new features, one in particular caught our attention. Imagine being able to touch a spot on the laptop and have it recognize your fingerprint. It can be used to unlock your computer or purchase items online with a pre-stored credit card.

Owners of the latest generation of iPhones, with the Touch ID home button, are already familiar with this feature. And now, with the release of the new computers today, MacBook owners can enjoy it as well.

Apple's Craig Federighi shows off the new TouchID to make a purchase with just the tap of his finger.Apple's Craig Federighi shows off the new TouchID to make a purchase with just the tap of his finger. (Photo: Apple)

The technology comes courtesy of PrimeSense, an Israeli tech firm that Apple acquired in 2013. PrimeSense was founded in 2005 by entrepreneur Aviad Maizels, an alumnus of the Technion Institute of Technology and the Weizmann Institute of Science, both in Israel. The MIT Technology Review named it one of the world's 10 most important technologies.

Beyond the new MacBooks, Apple sees vast potential for its PrimeSense acquisition. The technology could be used everywhere from homes to hospitals to storefronts, as you can see in the video below:

Apple has three offices in Israel, totaling more than 1,000 employees. Its largest is a 180,000-square-foot Mediterranean R&D lab in the coastal Israeli city of Herzliya. It is Apple's largest outside of the United States.

The company's interest in the Israeli high-tech scene began shortly after CEO Tim Cook took over the company from an ailing Steve Jobs in 2011. With the purchase of two Israeli companies – Anobit, in 2011, and PrimeSense, in 2013 – and the recruitment of more than 1,000 Israeli engineers, it has pivoted toward Israel as a base to continue research and development of hardware and semiconductors. This is essential for a company that relies heavily on smaller and more powerful processors that allow for the sleek and minimalist design of its products. Israel has proved to be an elite breeding ground for such technology.

There are also rumors swirling that the iPhone 8 is currently being developed in Israel. Not to mention that, according to the company, more than 6,000 iPhone app developers also reside in Israel.

"Apple is in Israel because the engineering talent and the brilliance of the people are incredible," Cook said during a visit to Israel last year. "We have an enormous admiration for Israel."

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