Fans of the iPad could soon be using facial recognition technology to unlock their devices, industry rumours suggests.
Face ID, a key selling point of the recently released iPhone X, is coming to the 2018 version of the tablet, insiders say.
If true, it would see the home button dropped in favour of an all-screen device, similar to the £999 ($999) flagship smartphone.
An anonymous source told Bloomberg that Apple is working on a ‘redesigned, high-end iPad’ that could be ready ‘for as early as 2018.’
The sleeker iPad may feature slimmer edges, afforded by the removal of the home button.
A revamped version would mark the first time the iPad’s appearance has been redesigned since the first iPad Pro debuted in 2015.
The tablet is expected to share a similar 10.5 inch size to previous Pro models, although Bloomberg’s sources suggest that it will not feature an OLED display.
OLED screens feature more vivid colours and better clarity than the traditional LED screens currently used on the devices.
But they are also more difficult to produce in large quantities.
The reaction to the news on Twitter has been fairly negative.
Twitter user Scott C Lemon said: ‘I still can’t believe people think Face ID is a good idea?’
And Jonny Evans wrote: ‘Incidentally, what problem does Face ID on an iPad actually solve? On a phone, I get it. I would like to see it on a Mac. Instant on. And gesture control. Come ON!’
The rehaul would bring the new iPad’s design in line with the iPhone X.
Instead of using a physical switch to unlock the handset, you can use facial recognition, known as Face ID.
You can also use it to authorise purchases from the iTunes Store, App Store, iBooks Store, and payments with Apple Pay.
The technology that enables Face ID is some of the most advanced hardware and software ever created by Apple.
The TrueDepth camera captures accurate face data by projecting and analysing over 30,000 invisible dots to create a depth map of your face and also captures an infrared image of your face.
A portion of the A11 Bionic chip’s neural engine, protected within the Secure Enclave, transforms the depth map and infrared image into a mathematical representation and compares that representation to the enrolled facial data.
If you’re wearing glasses, the iPhone can still recognize you using other parts of your face.
The same goes for wearing a hat.
Growing a moustache or simply getting older doesn’t affect the system.
If you shave your beard, it’s too big of a change.
Costumes and disguises also challenged Face ID.
A Santa hat was OK, but a beard wasn’t.
Nor did it like funny glasses and a fake nose.
Winter clothing was fine, as long as the scarf wasn’t covering too much of my face.
Face ID uses an infrared camera which doesn’t rely on visible light, so technically this should work.
Other fun options include testing the system while wearing glasses, a hat, and different hairstyles – all of which should allow you to access your device.
Or if you’re feeling especially testing, you could print a mask of your face, and see if Face ID allows someone else to access your device while wearing it.
If Face ID is working correctly, they shouldn’t be able to.