Face ID and the iPad

I still think the iMac Pro could be the next device from Apple to ship with Face ID, but the iPad Pro is an obvious member of that succession plan as well.

Like the MacBooks, there may be a depth issue to overcome when it comes to fitting the Face ID hardware behind the device’s cover glass. Here are the depths of both iPad Pros compared to the iPhone X:

iPhone X 12.9″ iPad Pro 10.5″ iPad Pro
7.7 mm 6.9 mm 6.1 mm

If there’s anything Apple excels at, it’s making technology thinner and lighter. I assume they can trim the Face ID hardware to fit into the chassis of the iPad without any problems.

The more interesting thing is the problem of orientation. The iPad is the most orientation-agnostic device Apple ships. The home button can be at the top, bottom, left or right of the screen.

I think most people use their iPad in portrait mode, with the home button at the bottom or in landscape, with the home button to the right, as it is when clipped into the Smart Keyboard.

Currently, Face ID is decidedly not orientation agnostic. If the user is sitting or standing, the iPhone X must be in portrait orientation to unlock. If the phone is upright and the user is laying down on their side, or if the user is walking through the woods and the iPhone X is in a tripod mount, it won’t unlock.

That’s not a huge deal with the iPhone X, but on an iPad it’s a bigger issue. I don’t know the technical details of why Face ID is orientation specific, but it’s something Apple would need to overcome before stuffing Face ID into an iPad.

I have no doubt Apple is fully aware of these issues and is already well down the road of advancing Face ID so it can show up in an iPad. I’m ready for it; Touch ID already feels old-school on my iPad Pro.