As seasoned Apple tablet watchers will know, the iPad Pro ditched the home button and went all-in on Face ID in 2018, so it was only a matter of time before the other iPads followed suit – and it looks like Apple is now ready to make the switch.
A couple of leaks over the weekend suggest that the full-screen, thin-bezel, home-button-less look of the iPad Pros is coming to Apple's other slates – perhaps the entry-level iPad, perhaps the iPad Air, or perhaps both.
First up Twitter tipster @duanrui1205 (opens in new tab) has shared images of what is supposedly the manual for the upcoming iPad Air 4 – the pictures show a design without a home button but also mention Touch ID. USB-C is also referred to.
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The assumption is that Touch ID will be built into the power button – something that would maybe help keep the price more affordable, compared with the top-level iPad Pros and their advanced Face ID camera trickery.
iPad Air 4Touch IDvia 小红书 pic.twitter.com/2jc09uAKUYAugust 27, 2020
Next, we have leaked schematics from 91mobiles (opens in new tab) that purport to show a new 10.8-inch entry level iPad. Again, there is an iPad Pro-style overhaul, with the home button disappearing and USB-C arriving. In this case, Face ID is included, and support for the new Magic Keyboard is also mentioned.
While a 10.8-inch iPad has been tipped for a 2020 launch in the past – by well-respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo no less – it would seem strange for the cheapest iPad to include Face ID while the more expensive iPad Air sticks with Touch ID (albeit on the power button).
It is of course possible that one or both of these leaks aren't accurate or authentic, or that they don't refer to the iPad models that they think they do. That said, it does seem the right time for Apple to bring more uniformity to the design of its iPad range, across all the different models and price points.
Something we can be sure about is that more iPads are on the way, as revealed by regulatory filings spotted last week. Don't be surprised if they come with an iPad Pro look, even if they don't exactly match up with the leaks we've seen here.