The iPad Air 4
is a significant design upgrade over the iPad Air 3
, thanks to a larger 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display and thinner bezels. The Touch ID fingerprint sensor is now integrated within the power button at the top and Apple
is proud of achieving this "incredible feat of engineering," as reported by AppleInsider
Apple's VP of Product Marketing Bob Borchers and VP of Hardware Engineering John Ternus appeared on the Same Brain podcast recently and discussed the current iPad lineup.
The third-generation iPad Air also has Touch ID but it's baked inside the Home button that's not there on the new model.
The Apple execs explained that it was challenging to put the Touch ID sensor inside the power button, not just because of the narrow aspect ratio, but also because they needed to make sure it didn't interfere with the working of other components.
They specifically mentioned the cellular model's top portion which houses the antenna. The antenna and the Touch ID sensor are both incredibly sensitive and Apple needed to make sure that they worked simultaneously without taking over each other.
This also meant that the Touch ID team and the antenna unit had to collaborate tightly every step of the way.
the Touch ID team and the antenna team had to be in lockstep through the entire engineering process
Ternus also revealed that the Touch ID sensor on the iPad Air 4 is an "evolution of the technology" when compared to the previous model.
The iPad Air 4 is powered by the A14 Bionic
, the chip that will probably fuel the iPhone 12
. The slate doesn't have a definitive release date at the moment, but Apple had previously said it would go on sale in October.