Technology

iPad Pro rumors: 4K HDR video output over USB-C, flexible Face ID, and more

Enlarge / The Professional iPad 10.5 Inch

Andrew Cunningham

Apple seems to be preparing for another event later this month, and reports suggest that the reorganized iPad pros will come out of it. According to a 9to5Mac report "familiar sources of development" new models of iPad Pro have revealed that tablets would have a display almost edge to edge, without home button, support face recognition, 4K video output via a USB-C port and other new features.

Renders of the new iPad Pro have been floating for a few weeks. They show slabs with glasses barely there that surround the four sides of the screen – no home button nor notch in sight. While the screens of the new iPhones require a notch to accommodate Apple's TrueDepth camera technology, it seems that the new iPad Pro will have glasses wide enough to support the camera. This makes sense because tablets usually have larger casings than smartphones to resist any means to grab them.

The 9to5Mac report states that the new iPad Pro will support facial identity in portrait and landscape mode, a feature that none of the latest iPhones can technically claim. To set the face ID on a iPhone XS, XS Max or XR, you must hold the handset in portrait mode to scan and read the features of your face. Apparently, face recognition will be configured in the same way on the new iPad Pro – in portrait mode – but users will be able to unlock the tablet with the help of their face in portrait mode and in landscape mode.

This is an important, but apparently simple, feature on an iPad Pro because tablets are designed to be used in portrait and landscape modes more than smartphones. However, we do not know how Apple solved this problem on the new iPad Pro: a hardware component not included in the new iPhones or a simple software update might be needed.

The new iPad Pro is rumored to also include a USB-C port capable of transmitting 4K HD video to an external display. In the Settings application, a new "Panel" section allows users to control the resolution, brightness, HDR and other external display settings. If that's true, it's another feature that would help the iPad Pro become an alternative to laptops. Last year iOS 11 introduced drag-and-drop, split view and other features that made multitasking and productivity more effective on iPads. There is notably no mention of Apple's traditional Lightning port: it's unclear whether the new iPad Pro will have one with a USB-C port or if the USB-C port will completely replace the port Lightning.

The report also suggests that the smart connector of the iPad Pro, currently located on one edge of the tablet and used to connect keyboards, will be moved to the back of the device. This could allow the iPad pros to connect to a greater number of accessories.

To accompany these iPad Pro updates, Apple can also publish an updated version of the Apple pencil. The new stylus would be paired with the new iPad Pro by proximity, much like the AirPods do it with other Apple devices. Currently, Apple Pencil must be plugged into the tablet's charging port before it can be paired to the device. Removing this item would certainly facilitate the use of an Apple Pencil with multiple devices.

It is not yet known when Apple could organize its October event, but check Ars for more information as it becomes available.

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