Apple’s next 10.9-inch iPad is reportedly going to be all about the display sans distractions. The upcoming Apple tablet is rumored to eliminate the physical home button. Akin to an iPhone, the physical home button works in the same manner on the iPad. However, if rumors are to be believed, Apple could experiment with the Touch ID sensor layered beneath the display glass or replace the button with a virtual button or gestures.
Without the home button, the purported iPad is set to become the first iOS device to undergo this radical design change. At 10.9-inches, the iPad will then sit in the same category as the current 9.7-inch iPad. According to a report on 9to5Mac, the purported tablet could have thinner bezels to further enhance the seamless display. The only thicker bezel on the device will be on the top for the FaceTime camera. However, the trade-off will be in terms of the overall thickness of the tablet. The next iPad is said to measure 7.5mm in thickness, which is the same as the original iPad Air which was launched three years ago. The bump in thickness could be due to the addition of pressure-sensitive technology instead of the physical home button along with a speculated support for Apple Pencil.
Apple has been long toying with the idea of eliminating its iconic home button from its iOS devices. In the period between 2012 and 2014, the company acquired 26 patents from biometric security company Privaris, which specializes in integrating fingerprint readers into touch screens. Apple has also been awarded a patent for a ‘capacitive fingerprint sensor’, which further stresses at a future of physical button-less iOS devices. The technology allows a device to detect fingerprint readings anywhere on the display of a device. The idea has not been made commercial as the fingerprint image gets distorted by the time it travels from the glass surface to the Touch ID sensor underneath. However, Apple is expected to use a certain lens to help achieve accurate results despite layering the sensor under the display. ALSO READ: 10.5-inch Apple iPad to reportedly launch in early 2017; production set to kick off next month
While it had been earlier expected that the iPhone will be the first to get rid of the physical home button, it looks like Apple will now debut a button-less display on the iPad. With its iPhone 7, Apple introduced a capacitive home button, which doesn’t move when pressed but offers the same functionality. With the next iPad, it is expected that Apple will not consider having even the capacitive sensor on its tablet.
Amidst dwindling sales of tablets in the industry, Apple iPads continue to lead the market with the iPad Air and iPad Mini recorded as the best-selling devices in the Q3 this year. Apple’s current line of tablets include the iPad Pro which comes in two display sizes of 12.9-inches and 9.7-inches, a 9.7-inch iPad Air 2, and the iPad Mini 2 and iPad Mini 4 in the smaller display category. This year, Apple is widely expected to launch a new iPad with a 10.5-inch display, and it is expected to be called an iPad Pro as well. Reports claim that the reason for a 10.5-inch iPad is because “10-inch and larger tablets have been popular among enterprises and the education sector in the US.” ALSO READ: Apple iPhone 8 could feature Xiaomi Mi 5s-like capacitive fingerprint sensor