We’re getting our first look at Apple’s next-generation iPad Pro, and surprisingly, it’s not coming from a supply chain leak. Instead, it’s Apple that has leaked the details courtesy of the newly-released iOS 12 Beta 5.
As was the case last year when a glyph of the iPhone X confirmed the shape of the device before its official reveal, this new iPad glyph tells us a whole lot with just a few pixels. For starters, the bezels around the display are a lot smaller; especially along the top and bottom of the device. This has allowed Apple to expand the size of the display while apparently keeping similar exterior dimensions. It also looks as though Apple has been able to squeeze in an extra row (or two) of home screen icons.
The biggest change, however, is the omission of the Home button. Long a staple on iPads (and iPhones), the Home button has been ditched, just as it was on the iPhone X. This can only lead to the conclusion that the iPad Pro is adoption Face ID for authentication now that Touch ID is no more (all of Apple’s 2018 iPhone will also adopt Face ID)
However, given the size of the iPad and the fact that its bezels are still thicker than what you’d find on an iPhone X, the Face ID hardware is able to fit in the top bezel without the need for a display notch. A notch on the iPad Pro would be particularly unsightly given that the tablet is often used just as much in portrait mode as it is in landscape mode and could end up being a distraction. Like the iPhone X, however, you’ll need to orient the iPad Pro into portrait mode in order to use Face ID.
The new iPad Pro family is expected to debut this fall alongside the 2018 family of iPhones. All of the devices are likely to use Apple’s homegrown A12 processor.