Rosenblatt Securities analyst Jun Zhang expects Apple to launch new 10.5″ and 12.9″ versions of its iPad tablets featuring the iPhone X’s facial recognition capabilities late in the second quarter, according to a note to investors.
The speculation validates earlier rumors also predicting that Apple would bring the iPhone X’s Face ID technology to all future devices, and offers further credibility to the idea that this applies to Apple’s future iPhones, too. Based on TrueDepth sensors enabling 3D imaging, the technology enables facial recognition for user authentication, as well as digitally mapping faces for the creation of animated emojis. And with Face ID authentication replacing the Touch ID fingerprint sensor, the technology also clears the way for full-size displays.
For the upcoming iPads, those displays are expected to be in LCD form, rather than the OLED screen of the iPhone X, due to supply and cost issues with respect to the larger screen sizes required for Apple’s tablets. But the new iPads are also expected to include an improved version of the iPhone X’s A11 Bionic processor — the A11X.
As for the price, Jun Zhang’s memo doesn’t offer any hints. The iPhone X is thought to have seen disappointing sales in the months since its launch, with some analysts pointing the finger at its unusually high price tag for a smartphone, with the cheapest model at $999 USD. iPads tend to be cheaper than iPhones, and eschewing OLED displays could help to keep the new versions’ prices reasonable; but Apple is clearly willing to experiment with the upper limits of the market.
More information is likely to leak as June approaches, with some pointing to Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference in early June as the likely venue for the new iPads’ unveiling.