Apple appears to be gearing up for another event later this month, and reports suggest we’ll see revamped iPad Pros come out of it. According to a 9to5Mac report, “sources familiar with the development” of the new iPad Pro models revealed that the tablets will have nearly edge-to-edge displays, no Home button, Face ID support, 4K video output via a USB-C port, and other new features.
Renders of the new iPad Pros have been floating around for a few weeks. They show slabs with barely-there bezels surrounding all four sides of the screen—no Home button or notch in sight. Whereas the screens on the new iPhones require a notch to accommodate Apple’s TrueDepth camera technology, it appears the new iPad Pros will have bezels wide enough to support the camera. This makes sense because tablets typically have wider bezels than smartphones to withstand all the ways users grab them.
The report from 9to5Mac claims the new iPad Pros will support Face ID in both landscape and portrait mode, a feature that none of the newest iPhones can technically claim. Setting up Face ID on an iPhone XS, XS Max, or XR requires holding the handset in portrait mode so it can scan and read your facial features. Reportedly, Face ID will be set up on the new iPad Pros in the same way—in portrait mode—but users will be able to unlock the tablet using their face in both portrait and landscape modes.
This is an important, yet seemingly simple, feature to have on an iPad Pro because tablets are designed to be used in both portrait and landscape modes more so than smartphones. However, it’s unclear how Apple worked this out on the new iPad Pros—it could require a hardware component not included in the new iPhones, or it could just require a software update.
The new iPad Pros are also rumored to include a USB-C port that can output 4K HDR video to an external display. In the Settings app, a new “panel” section will let users control resolution, brightness, HDR and other external display settings. If true, this is another feature that would help the iPad Pro become more of a laptop alternative. Last year’s iOS 11 introduced Drag and Drop, Split View, and other features that made multitasking and productivity more efficient on iPads. Notably, there’s no mention of Apple’s traditional Lightning port—it’s unclear if the new iPad Pros will have one along with a USB-C port, or if the USB-C port will replace the Lightning port entirely.
The report also suggests the iPad Pro’s Smart Connector, currently situated on one edge of the tablet and used to connect keyboards, will be moved to the back of the device. This could allow the iPad Pros to connect to a wider range of accessories.
To accompany these iPad Pro updates, Apple may also release an updated version of the Apple Pencil. The new stylus will reportedly pair with the new iPad Pros by proximity, much like AirPods do with other Apple devices. Currently, Apple Pencils must be plugged into the tablet’s charging port before it can pair with that device. Removing that element would certainly make it easier to use one Apple Pencil with multiple devices.
There’s no word yet on when Apple could hold its October event, but check back on Ars for more news as it becomes available.