This is what a bezel-less iPad with Face ID could look like, and it doesn't need a notch

This is what a bezel-less iPad with Face ID could look like, and it doesn't need a notch
Images by @MilenYanachkov /

An iPad with Face ID, or at least a model without a physical home button, is very likely to come out this year or next. Several changes introduced in iOS 12 for iPads, including a host of gestures straight from the iPhone X, seem to corroborate the many reports claiming that a bezel-less iPad is coming. Furthermore, well-regarded market analyst Ming-Chi Kuo from KGI Securities has gone on record to say that he believes upcoming iPad Pro models will support Face ID, which has opened the floodgates for speculation about a "notched" iPad.

Having read through countless reports and leaks, we thought we'd offer our two cents and explain why we don't think the iPad needs a notch, and why we do think an iPad with much narrower bezels and no physical home button is very mcuh a possibility. 

Why the iPad doesn't need a notch...

When it comes to smartphones, the notch is not a cosmetic choice, it is there to serve a purpose. Or at least, it's there to serve a purpose on the iPhone X, as it has no other bezels. The notch is simply a waning top bezel that houses an IR camera, a flood illuminator, a proximity sensor, an ambient light sensor, a speaker, a microphone, a front-facing camera, and a dot projector. That's eight sensors total, and there's still a bit of room left to the sides for the "horns" to display the time, signal, and other notifications.

If Apple was to bring Face ID to the iPad, you would need only four of those sensors and the iPad is much, much bigger. So, even if there's a notch, it could be smaller than that of the iPhone X, and it would take an even more insignificant portion of the screen. But a notch would be needed only if the bezels are so slim that there's no room left for these four sensors, and we don't think it would be such a great idea to have an iPad with bezels as slim as those of the iPhone X.

A bezel-less iPad with a notch and extremely thin bezelsis possible, but how do you hold it? No amount of palm rejection would prevent accidental interactions with the UI. On the other hand, an iPad with all-around much thinner bezels and smart palm rejection could work great and still have enough room in the top bezel for the TrueDepth camera. Of course, to achieve either design, Apple would need to use flexible OLED displays, which would increase production costs.

The iPad is a two-handed operation, you need some bezels to be able to hold it comfortably. Palm rejection on current iPad models works wonders, but if you narrow the bezels so much as to match those of the iPhone X, you're asking for trouble. A tablet with such thin bezels would look great, no doubt, like a floating display, but users would often cover and/or involuntarily interact with portions of the UI, which would then lead to endless frustration on the user's part.

However, smart UI design, in combination with advanced palm rejection, could potentially allow Apple to reduce the bezels of the iPad to be about as thick as the notch of the iPhone X. This may not sound like much, but it would be a huge improvement over the current iPad design, and it would allow for effortless two-handed use of the device.

...But it may get a notch anyway

One of the minor UI changes that iOS 12 introduced is a subtle adjustment to the status bar, wherein the clock has been moved to the left-hand side from its original central position. This change now leaves a sizeable empty area in the middle that could easily be occupied by a display notch in a future upgrade. Furthermore, the notch has become synonymous with the iPhone X, and Apple has been deliberately using it as a brand recognition tool. Considering this, it wouldn' be too surprising if Apple decided to stick with the notch and make the new iPad models stand out amidst an ocean of samey-looking slates.

This possibility raises many questions, however, such as how thick the rest of the bezels will be, and how two-handed use and accidental taps would be accounted for. Of course, Apple engineers may be ahead of the curve with an amazing new solution that shifts UI elements around to make sure that nothing is in the way of the user's palm, but that's conjecture at this point.

A bezel-less iPad would look awesome in white, but if there's a notch, chances are, there won't be a white color option. Apple, and most other companies that use this design (though there are exceptions), opt to keep the front of their phones black, so that the notch can blend in more with the frame and parts of the interface. 

Another thing that we didn't go into too much detail is the fact that Apple would have to use an OLED (or microLED) technology to achieve this design, as the display needs to be flexible and curve to the sides to actually allow for the elimination (or reduction) of the bezels. But seeing as how the iPhone X already has an OLED display, this only seems like a natural evolution for the iPad lineup as well.

So, what do you think of these designs? Do you like the notch-less iPad better or the notched one? Would you buy either? Tell us in the comments below!

Disclaimer: The images featured in this material have been made by PhoneArena and are based on preliminary information about the respective device(s), such as, but not limited to, factory CAD blueprints and live photos of the device(s), or accessories thereof. As such, the images found herein may not be fully representative of the final design of the device(s).



1. Amin20

Posts: 10; Member since: Jun 04, 2018

Notchless design looks perfect

2. Milen_Y

Posts: 115; Member since: Jun 09, 2016

We can only hope!

4. KingSam

Posts: 1472; Member since: Mar 13, 2016

A notched iPad would represent a real low point for Apple's designers. It not needed. Give me a tad smaller bezels. That's all I ask.

18. tedkord

Posts: 17414; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Not much smaller. you need that area for grip.

33. buccob

Posts: 2975; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

Perfect if you only intend to use it as some sort of notebook..... As a tablet seems to be an ergonomic nightmare... In fact, the "huge" bezels on my Surface Book sometimes feel a bit small since the edge gestures might activate by simply holding it normally... Remember that iOS 12 is taking a turn for gestures as well, so this is not a good idea...

3. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

Looks gorgeous..

5. youssef44

Posts: 547; Member since: Apr 29, 2014

Without notch always better choice for me

6. AronWunarso

Posts: 244; Member since: Feb 21, 2016

Prefer with bezel. Might be beautiful but not in long term use.

22. buccob

Posts: 2975; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

I agree.... even the bezels on my Surface Book's tablet portion, at about half an inch, feel sometimes awkward to use, it would occasionally trigger side gestures... I would reduce current iPad bezels just a bit, but nothing like those concepts

7. MartinR

Posts: 67; Member since: Jul 26, 2012

I still see a whole lot of bezel!

8. japkoslav

Posts: 1517; Member since: Feb 19, 2017

Please stop using brain, it's the Apple we are talking about. Just imagine what an Apple engineer is thinking: "iPad is big, we can fit four notches in there!".

9. AfterShock

Posts: 4147; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

Thinner but still has bezels no matter what the emperor says.

16. tedkord

Posts: 17414; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

A tablet should have bezels, because of the way you hold it. Removing bezels would be a mistake. Not to say they couldn't be a little smaller than they are now.

26. ChicagoBorn

Posts: 101; Member since: Jan 24, 2018

You try to hard.

29. tedkord

Posts: 17414; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Truth doesn't require effort.

10. ssallen

Posts: 202; Member since: Oct 06, 2017

Tech blogger gets great inspiration that countless professional engineers and designers couldn't possibly imagine. Shocking. Your design looks great until your greasy cheeto covered fingers constantly smudge your screen because you never realized you actually have to hold this thing. And not in the delicate asinine way in your rendering. This thing will have real weight and no one is going to hold it like that unless they enjoy dropping it all the time. Go back to working on your novel. The grown ups have work to do.

11. Milen_Y

Posts: 115; Member since: Jun 09, 2016

Oh wow... I mean... just wow. But, uh, sorry to hear that you handle your devices with cheeto covered fingers. My advice would be to not eat junk food at all, or if you do, at least wipe your hands before using your tablet. Also, most smartphones and tablets these days have an oleophobic coating over their screens, though this won't be enough to fend off that orange cheeto grime :(

12. Podrick

Posts: 1285; Member since: Aug 19, 2015

I prefer some bezels on a tablet. Makes it easier to hold.

13. gamehead unregistered

Nice looking tablet

14. Godlymansean

Posts: 337; Member since: Apr 14, 2017

Hopefully the direction they go. No notch needed.

15. vasta

Posts: 74; Member since: Apr 02, 2018

A near bezel-less iPad sounds awful ergonomics-wise!

17. tedkord

Posts: 17414; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Bezel free is not a good idea for a tablet. A notch is not a good idea for anything.

19. darkkjedii

Posts: 31308; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Absolutely gorgeous, but parting with my current 12.9 Pro is gonna take something huge.

20. CreeDiddy

Posts: 2249; Member since: Nov 04, 2011

The notch render looks better to me...

21. fyah_king unregistered

The bezels are still there.lok

23. geordie8t1

Posts: 306; Member since: Nov 16, 2015

unlike phones which have very little space to work with, tablets have a lot of excess space around them, and could easily shave of a few mm, im not an apple fan but i do like these bezelless concepts, even allowing for some space to hold the tablet bezels could be shrunk by at least half on both the top and bottom

24. warrenellis93

Posts: 550; Member since: Jul 21, 2011

looks like what an LG tablet would look like

25. Trex95

Posts: 2383; Member since: Mar 03, 2013

Both looks fabulous.

27. Zylam

Posts: 1817; Member since: Oct 20, 2010

The notch can serve a purpose on the iPad In the sense of orientation. It will let you know where the face detection sensors are so you can pick it up the right way. I have a Surface Pro and I always look for where the sensors are before I pick it up to make sure the camera is on top and can detect me right away. I don't know how good face ID is or how good it will be on the new iPad's but if they can detect you just as fast regardless of orientation than yea the notch probably won't matter then. That being said, the crazy thin bezels with a notch looks awesome, I don't think it would cause major issues with accidental touches, the software should be able to compensate just fine. And like you mentioned, the notch is a marketing feature for Apple, it will fit in with their brand image. I really hope we get new iPad Pros this year, I cannot wait to have a no home button iPad!

28. path45th

Posts: 406; Member since: Sep 11, 2016

Design wise I prefer the notchless one. But, I think if keeping the iPad in a case (which is a sensible thing to do) the case can help the user to hold it so the bezels are not really needed. The one with the notch is less attractive but offers more screen and for me more screen is better over better design.

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