Back in October, it was reported that Apple would be launching three new iPad Pros next year. In addition to a refreshed 12.9-inch iPad Pro and a low-cost 7.9-inch version, there will also be a 10.1-inch model. According to Japanese site Makotakara (via 9to5 Mac), which was responsible for the original report, this middle iPad will actually be 10.9 inches yet have the same footprint as the current 9.7-inch iPad Pro, despite the larger screen size.
The information comes from an “informed” supply-chain source in Taiwan. It seems Apple is able to achieve this feat by changing parts of the tablet’s design, the biggest alteration being the removal of the physical home button.
To make more room for the screen, Apple is expected to replace its iconic physical home button on the iPhone 8 with a virtual button - complete with Touch ID functionality - that’s built underneath the display glass, similar to Xiaomi's Mi 5s and Mi 5s Plus. If the report is to be believed, the upcoming iPad will receive this new design feature before the smartphone.
Additionally, the size of the tablet’s bezels will be reduced to make way for a larger display, though the FaceTime camera will remain. The tradeoff for this, however, is said to be an increase in the device’s thickness; to make room for the battery and Apple Pencil display tech, the new iPad will be 7.5mm thick, the same as the original 2013 iPad Air.
The new 12.9-inch iPad Pro’s thickness is also said to be increasing by 3mm, suggesting that it will also have its bezels size reduced and physical home button removed.
The actual screen size of the upcoming iPad is still unclear. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes it will be 10.5 inches, rather than Makotakara's updated claim of 10.9 inches.
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