It sounds like one of the most anticipated—and most controversial—features of the iPhone X could be moving to the iPad Pro as soon as next year. Well-known analyst and Apple insider Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities said in a note to investors that fans can expect Face ID on iPad Pro next year.
Face ID is Apple’s facial recognition feature, the one that sparked a storm of concern on and immediately after the big iPhone X reveal. Many Apple fans were worried about being locked out of their iPhone if Face ID didn’t work properly, but it seems like Apple has managed to put their fears to rest, at least for now. The true test will be in November when the first consumers unpack their iPhone X and start using Face ID.
In a note on Monday, Kuo said that he expects Apple to bring its TrueDepth camera system to the iPad line next year, which could mean that we’ll see Face ID on iPad Pro then. The TrueDepth camera system is what enables Apple’s facial recognition feature to work. Unfortunately, it’s also the component that Kuo believes is causing the biggest problem for Apple’s suppliers because he believes the camera module is what’s causing the yield problems for the iPhone X.
Of the entire iPad line, it makes sense that Apple would reserve Face ID for the top-of-the-line Pro model because of the yield problems, and Kuo said this as well. The iPad Pro comes in 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch sizes, and these models are essentially Apple’s flagship tablets. In order to get Apple’s top-of-the-line features, consumers will need to fork over the cash for the most expensive models.
He didn’t say whether Apple will ditch the Home button and Touch ID fingerprint sensor when it adds Face ID on iPad Pro next year, notes 9to5Mac. The design of the current models would probably have enough room to house both the TrueDepth camera system and Home button with Touch ID sensor.
However, he adds that one of Apple’s goals is to bring together the user experiences of the iPad line with the iPhone X experience. Thus, adding Face ID on iPad Pro would be a huge step in that direction, especially since the iPad Pro models are like the iPhone X of Apple’s tablet line. Further, he said that expanding Face ID to the iPad will increase adoption of it among developers.
Kuo refers to all of next year’s new iPads as the fiscal 2018 models. Fiscal 2018 actually started at the beginning of this month because the last three months of the year are Apple’s first fiscal quarter. However, the fiscal 2018 iPad models aren’t expected to be revealed until next summer.