As fantastic as the new iPad Pros are — we love the slim bezels, powerful performance, and Face ID — some people still can’t stand Apple removing Touch ID and the headphone jack from the tablets.
Well, good news: The next generation iPad (the regular one) is rumored to keep both of these beloved features.
Unnamed sources told the Japanese Apple fan blog Mac Otakara that Apple’s new entry-level iPad, which sells for $329 and was updated in mid-2018, will not sport any exterior design changes.
Touch ID and the headphone jack, two features still available on the iPad but removed from the iPad Pro, will return once again.
That’s good news for anyone who dislikes Face ID or having to use Lightning-based EarPods or headphones or wireless headphones such as AirPods. However, Touch ID’s return for another year likely means the thick top and bottom bezels below the screen will not get any thinner either.
Thicker bezels also means the screen size of 9.7-inch Retina display on the iPad is unlikely to increase as previously rumored.
TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo previously said he believes Apple might increase the screen of the entry-level iPad from 9.7-inches to 10.2 inches. If the body of the iPad is unchanged, this could only be achieved by thinning out the bezels, which would require removing the home button and Touch ID.
Mac Otakara has been a reliable source of information for unreleased Apple products. Its latest source is someone who reportedly does business with Alibaba and gives the rumor more credibility. However, as with all rumors, it’s important to remain skeptical of its authenticity until Apple officially announces a new product.
Keeping the new entry-level iPad the same would be a move straight from Apple’s playbook, as would keep pricing low, but I have to wonder if Apple’s not moving fast enough to innovate with its non-Pro iPads.
The current 9.7-inch iPad sports a design that’s largely remained the same since the iPad Air, which came in 2013. The tablet’s due for a serious revamp. If Apple truly believes the iPad Pro is the future of the iPad, maybe it’s time it put some of the same features in the less expensive models.