We’re only a few days away from Apple’s upcoming fall event, and while it’s a little less clear what will be announced compared to the September iPhone event, the star of the show is expected to be an updated iPad Pro, which will see the flagship tablet get updated with a new design — including a slimmed down, bezel-less display with Face ID.
Can’t wait for October 30th? We’ve rounded up the five biggest rumors about Apple’s new iPads here:
New, reduced bezel displays — but no notch
The biggest change for this year’s new iPads are expected to be a new, reduced bezel display. The new screens are expected to dramatically shrink down the bezels on the iPad — similar to the trend we’ve seen on both phones and laptops this year. In the case of the 10.5-inch model, rumors are that the new design will bump that up to an 11-inch panel, while the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is expected to keep the same screen size.
Apple is expected to expand the usable screen area to the point where the iconic home button will vanish entirely. Instead, the new iPads are expected to use a swiping navigation system similar to that on the iPhone XS and XR — which Apple coincidentally already added with iOS 12.
That said, don’t expect quite the same no-bezel look as say, the iPhone XS — the new iPads are expected to keep some of their bezels, likely due to the fact that the LCD panel still needs external illumination (similar to the iPhone XR) and that it’s kind of tough to hold a giant iPad without somewhere to put your fingers. But that comes at a plus, too: the new devices likely won’t have a cutout for a notch at the top.
In addition to the updated screens and designs, expect the usual spec boost that comes with new iPads — presumably to some variant of Apple’s recently released A12 Bionic chipset.
Face ID comes to the iPad
Notch or not, though, the new iPads are expected to get an upgrade to Apple’s Face ID system for unlocking the tablets, complete with all the various Face ID features, including Animoji and Memoji. Also spotted in the iOS 12.1 beta is support for Face ID when a device is held horizontally, something that sounds useful for a tablet that’s frequently used in landscape orientation (especially with a keyboard dock).
Perhaps the most unlikely rumor on this list: Apple is said to be considering shifting the iPad from the Lightning port (which it has used for every one of its tablet devices since the fourth-generation iPad was released in 2012) to USB-C, the next-generation universal port standard that Apple uses as the exclusive port option on its MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops. The rumor says that Apple will also be supporting 4K HDR video output over USB-C on the new iPads, too.
Switching to USB-C would be a huge change for Apple, which has tended to cling to its own port standard for mobile devices since it first introduced the original 30-pin connector on the iPod. More importantly, it would represent a fundamental shift in how Apple views the iPad: as a desktop class device more in line with its laptops than the iPhone.
Updated Apple Pencil
Noted Apple supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has predicted an updated Apple Pencil for the event — which would make sense, given that Apple hasn’t updated the stylus accessory since it was first announced in 2015. Add in the rather colorful logos that Apple has been using to advertise the event, and it’s easy to imagine that the company could show off how those logos were made using a new, enhanced Pencil.
And taken together with the rumors that Apple is switching toward USB-C for this year’s iPad Pros, it’d make sense for a new Apple Pencil that used the updated port to join it.
RIP headphone jack?
Apple giveth and Apple taketh away. While Apple may be adding a USB-C port to the new iPads, that may be coming at the expense of another beloved port: the 3.5mm headphone jack, which Apple already excised from its phones years ago. If Apple does leave only a USB-C port, prepare for a dongle hell unlike any we’ve seen yet, where you might need separate USB-C and Lighting to 3.5mm dongles to simply use your regular headphones with both your iPad and iPhone. (Or just buy Bluetooth headphones, I guess.)