Newly certified Apple iPad models could feature larger screen, Face ID
Earlier this month, supply chain insiders told Digitimes that Apple would release two entry-level iPads in the first half of this year. The report said that the company will revive the "mini" line with the iPad mini 5, and add an entry-level iPad as well. The latter could be equipped with a 10-inch display. There also could be at least another new iPad in the mix as well. Spotted by My New Price, six new iPads have received certification by the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC).
The EEC certifications are for models listed as A2123, A2124, A2153, A2154, A2133, and A2152. When you take into account that each new iPad normally has a Wi-Fi only and a Wi-Fi + Cellular variant, the six units receiving certification might translate into three new models. The certification documentation for each of the six iPads receiving the thumbs up from the EEC show that they run iOS 12. The agency certified these devices on January 23rd and published them today. While the EEC documentation doesn't include any specs, it does note that the six are Apple trademarked "tablet computers." Last year, the EEC certified two new iPad models in February, just five weeks before the unveiling of the sixth generation iPads.
Face ID could replace Touch ID on the new iPad models
Apple's entry-level iPad models have carried a 9.7-inch screen. With the speculation that Apple will release at least one new 10-inch model, and maybe two, we could see Apple redesign the basic iPad tablet along the lines of what it did last year with its high-end iPad Pro devices. The 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models released by Apple last year did away with the 3.5mm headphone jack, and replaced Touch ID with Face ID. It also slimmed down the bezels. Even though the expected new iPad units are entry level devices, Apple has had enough experience with the technology to keep its costs down.
We could see the new iPads and a new iPad mini make the switch to USB-C from Apple's proprietary Lightning system. This was another change found on last year's iPad Pro models, and makes it easier for users to plug in peripherals and accessories. The new tablets should be powered by the latest Apple designed chipset, the A12 Bionic; some of the new iPads could also include support for the magnetic Apple Pencil 2. After all, last year's sixth-generation model did offer support for the accessory (see image at the top of this article).
The new entry-level iPad has some new competition following the launch last August of Microsoft's Surface Go tablets. Priced at $399 and up, these slates carry a 10-inch 1080p display and run Windows 10. The entry level Surface Go model features twice as much storage than the 32GB found on the current entry level iPad.
If history repeats itself, we could see Apple hold an event as soon as next month to introduce its new tablets. Other Apple products that are expected to be unveiled during the first half of this year could also be announced. That means that we could soon see the AirPower wireless charger, which has not appeared since its September 2017 introduction, and the sequel to the original AirPods wireless ear buds.