Apple is working on a redesigned iPad that would remove the device’s home button in favor of the new Face ID system introduced on the iPhone X. Bloomberg reports that the new iPad, which will feature a display size “similar” to the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, is likely to be released “later next year.” An improved Apple Pencil is also under development and expected to launch alongside the updated tablet.
Just as it did for the iPhone, getting rid of the Touch ID home button will allow Apple to trim the iPad’s bottom bezel closer to the device’s edge. This would result in a more immersive screen that fills nearly the entire front of the 2018 iPad. The company reduced the iPad Pro’s side bezels significantly with the 10.5 model that went on sale in June. Bloomberg’s report doesn’t confirm whether or not it would have the iPhone X’s signature “notch” up top, however.
Current iPads still use a physical, clicking home button — and that feels a touch out of date after last year’s iPhone 7 switched to a non-moving button that simulates presses with vibration. Apple did the same thing with the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus this year.
Apple is unlikely to use OLED for the 2018 iPad lineup and will stick with LCD, according to the report. “Technical and financial constraints” are preventing the same display technology transition that the top-tier iPhone made this year. Samsung utilizes high-resolution OLED screens both for its Android-based Galaxy tablets and the 12-inch Galaxy Book that runs Windows. But those products don’t sell at nearly the same volume as iPads, so the “constraint” would likely be whether Samsung can produce enough screens for iPad demand. And if Samsung Display can’t, it’s doubtful that LG or other supplies could.
Other details about the next-generation iPad remain a mystery. Will it also change to a glass back to allow for wireless charging? Will we finally get an iPad that’s water resistant? (I think I’d value that more than Face ID, personally.) Bloomberg estimates that the launch is about a year out, so we might not see it until fall 2018, and the report warns that Face ID integration could be nixed due to supply issues between now and then.