Developer extraordinaire and serial firmware tinkerer Steven Troughton-Smith is at it again, this time finding evidence within the iOS 12 beta to suggest that Apple is close to announcing an updated iPad Pro with Face ID functionality complete with facial tracking.
Troughton-Smith – amongst other iOS developers – is well-known for his passion of diving into Apple’s firmware with the aim of voyaging where no man has voyaged before in the pursuit of hopefully discovering new and interesting things.
And, let’s be honest, he has a wonderful pedigree of doing exactly that. This latest internal dive has taken him into the darkest depths of Apple’s iOS 12 beta and has uncovered an iPad-ready implementation of what Apple calls AvatarKit. As some of you may have guessed, this is the framework which powers Animoji/Memoji and is unique to iPhone X.
The reason it is unique to iPhone X is down to the fact that Apple’s flagship iPhone is the only device which currently offers a TrueDepth camera experience for facial tracking. Animoji relies on this facial tracking to function correctly, as does the new Memoji functionality embedded within iOS 12. The iPad version of AvatarKit would suggest that Apple is planning on bringing the Animoji functionality to iPad, which, in turn, would mean that a Face ID-enabled version of the company’s tablet hardware would first need to be introduced containing an embedded TrueDepth camera system.
If accurate, then it could also mean that we are about to receive an iPad update which removes the physical Home button, comes equipped with the necessary TrueDepth camera system for facial tracking, and which relies on iPhone X-style gestures in order to allow the user to navigate around the interface.
Speculation has already suggested that a new high-end iPad Pro is on the cards for Apple, with most assuming that it will arrive later in the year, most likely just after the official launch of iOS 12.
Apple is expected to increase the screen size of the new iPad Pro without having to make the actual physical size of the hardware bigger thanks to minimizing bezels and removing the Home button. Let’s all countdown to September, which is when we would expect to see this new hardware introduced to the market.
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