A picture of the well known notorious Twitter leaker Evan Blass on Thursday could provide one of the first glimpses of a rumored iPad Pro that replaces Apple’s year-long Home Button with Face ID facial recognition. Blass posted the image, which looks like a digital rendering, next to the cryptic message “Seems to be missing on this (wrapped) iPad.
As usual, Blass did not disclose the source of the content, nor did he confirm that the iPad Pro mockup was based on leaked information. His comment, however, can be assumed that the render comes from a case builder.
Apart from a “full-screen” display, not much can be read from the picture. The case seems to have speaker ports on the top of the iPad near the on / off switch and headphone jack, suggesting that the model is an iPad Pro with stereo output. At the other end of the case appears a flash cable cutout, but similar cutouts for Apple’s Smart Connector and volume rocker seem to be missing.
Also missing are lunette sections for a TrueDepth camera array, suggesting that the image is just a rendering. Apple is unlikely to remove the Touch ID-equipped home button without replacing it with biometric identification, and Face ID is a major competitor. Although some believe that Apple has built in a sensor core similar to the iPhone X, such design compromises are unnecessary given the tablet’s large internal volume.
There are many rumors that Apple is equipping its tablets with the TrueDepth camera system introduced last year on the iPhone X. When integrating the 3D sensor technology, Apple is expected to remove the long-standing home button from the iPad Pro, thereby greatly reducing the bezel. The result could be an almost borderless screen similar to that of the iPhone X.
Recent supply chain rumors suggest that Apple’s suppliers are ready for production, with the revised 10.5 and 12.9-inch models of the iPad Pro possibly coming on the shelves at the end of the second quarter. The estimated release timeline is consistent with Apple’s annual product refresh cycle as the latest iPad Pro range was launched last June.
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