Apple minimized the bezels around the 10.5-inch iPad Pro when it launched last year, then got rid of the bezels entirely on the new iPhone X. Soon, the successor to the 2017 iPad Pro may get the X factor, and strip away almost everything around the display, plus add Face ID and other features seen on the iPhone X. There’s nothing official yet, but the rumors about the 2018 iPad Pro are gathering already. Here’s what we think we know about it.
The 2018 iPad Pro may share a similar look to the iPhone X, losing the home button and shrinking down the bezels, but avoiding the iPhone X’s controversial “notch” above the screen. To give us an idea about how such a tablet may look, a render has been created and shared on Twitter. It’s not an official design, or even a leak of one, but it is an interesting glimpse of Apple’s possible direction for an iPhone X-inspired iPad.
We’ve heard plenty of rumors that the 2018 iPad Pro would feature smaller bezels than previous iterations, but now we almost have confirmation from Apple itself. A new asset was found in iOS 12 developer beta 5 by 9to5Mac, which shows an icon of an iPad with no home button and smaller bezels. Notably missing from the icon is a notch, seemingly confirming that the 2018 iPad Pro won’t have one.
The latest reports indicate that the new iPad Pro will feature a front-facing TrueDepth camera with Face ID, but the feature may only work in portrait mode. That apparently is why Apple is reportedly moving the Smart Connector to near the Lightning port, meaning that if you want to dock the device, you’ll have to do so in portrait mode. That’s sure to be frustrating to those that regularly use their iPads with keyboards. The report, from Japanese blog Macotakara, also indicates that Apple will remove the headphone jack from the iPad Pro. Some other reports suggest that Face ID will still work in horizontal mode — which we hope turns out to be true.
OnLeaks has managed to get its hands on a purported leaked CAD image of the newly placed Smart Connector. In the image, the Smart Connector can be found right above the Lightning port.
Following WWDC 2018, iPad gestures on iOS 12 now mimic the iPhone X — which includes swiping down from the top-right hand corner to access the Control Center. This could mean the 2018 iPad might have a notch, after all.
While bezels around the screen remain, they’re minimal, and they’re uniform all the way around, unlike the iPhone X. There is no home button, a fixture of the iPad since its launch, tying the render in with recent rumors next year’s model will use Face ID to secure and unlock the device. It’s not clear where the Face ID camera or other sensors housed in the X’s notch are located. The shape and rear panel design shown in the render is consistent with the current iPad models.
Face ID replaced Touch ID on the iPhone X, and it may do the same on at least one 2018 iPad Pro model. The rumor has spread for a while, with Bloomberg most recently quoting anonymous sources saying we should expect both slimmer bezels and the Face ID technology on a new iPad. Removing the home button, and therefore Touch ID, will make it possible to shrink the bezels, the source said.
While Apple may be minimizing bezels on the 2018 iPad Pro lineup, that doesn’t necessarily mean the tablets will get smaller. In July, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted Apple will announce 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models later this year.
Earlier this year, Kuo, who has a proven track record when it comes to Apple rumors, wrote in a note to investors that the next 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro will have a Face ID experience “consistent with the iPhone X.” Face ID uses a neural engine to map the contours and shapes of faces in real time. It isn’t confused by hairstyles, hats, or beards, and it even works in the dark. Even with that flexibility, Apple says there’s only a one-in-a-million chance someone could circumvent the system, as opposed to a one-in-50,000 chance with Touch ID.
Following WWDC 2018, the iOS 12 developer beta is further proof Apple plans on removing the home button from all its devices. After getting his hands on the beta, iOS developer Guilherme Rambo took to Twitter to post videos and screenshots of the settings menu along with the setup user interface. It’s highly likely this could mean that an iPad equipped with Face ID sensors will be available sooner than later.
The Face ID setup UI is finally working on iPad. Clearly not done yet as can be seen by the descriptions mentioning "iPhone". But it's a start :) pic.twitter.com/PVQgfbne15
— Guilherme Rambo (@_inside) June 5, 2018
Any iPads running the iOS 12 beta also use the exact same gestures on the iPhone X. You’re able to swipe up from the bottom of the screen to bring you to the home screen, and to access the Control Center, all you need to do is swipe down from the top-right corner. It also includes multi-user Face ID, allowing you to add two different Face ID profiles to unlock your phone and complete tasks.
While a date has not been confirmed, we expect to see the 2018 iPad Pro lineup make its debut in September when Apple announces its latest iPhone hardware. In addition an updated iPhone and iPad Pro, we’re also expecting a completely redesigned Apple Watch to debut.
The Pencil stylus may get an update with the 2018 iPad range. Anonymous sources speaking to Bloomberg hinted a new version, complete with new software features and tools, is being prepared. Finer details about what to expect have not been leaked at this time.
We’ll keep you updated on all the 2018 Apple iPad Pro range news and rumors here, so check back often.
Updated on August 1: Icon in iOS 12 developer beta 5 seemingly confirms iPad with slim bezels.