If Twitter leaker @komiy_kj is to be believed, then Apple’s iPad Air 4 may be the next device from the tech giant to ditch Touch ID and make the switch over to Face ID for its form of biometric authentication.
The iPad Air 4 — which the leak says will be launched in early March of 2021 as opposed to the previously believed release date of December 2020 — would join Apple’s flagship iPhone lineup (with the exception of this year’s iPhone SE2, which brought Touch ID back as a way to keep the price of the smartphone down) and the iPad Pro models that have in recent years made the same switch to the 3D facial recognition system.
The belief in the switch to Face ID is based on the information the leaker provided claiming the iPad Air 4 will follow the same design language as the iPad Pro series, with the main difference between the two — aside from size — being that the Pro series no longer features Apple’s classic home button (which also housed the fingerprint sensor) in favor of thinner bezels.
With Apple being the tech trendsetter that it is, it’s no surprise that the shift to facial recognition for mobile biometric authentication has gained momentum over the past year. In October of 2019, Google launched its flagship Pixel 4 featuring its very own take on Face ID, Face Unlock, which is itself a 3D facial recognition system.
The shift to Face Unlock was not a small move by Google, as the rear-mounted fingerprint sensor was a major part of the marketing and design language for all of the previous 3 generations of Pixel devices.
Other details included in the leak point to a starting price of $649 (in the U.S.), which would signal a substantial increase from the $499 price point of last year’s iPad Air 3 and perhaps be another hint that Apple is looking to upgrade this lineup to the more sought-after Face ID system as well.