Computing giant Apple is expected to announce an update to its iPad Air product line at an event this Wednesday morning, and it looks like the company will break from tradition in more ways than one.
Firstly, the September event is unlikely to include the usual announcements on a new iPhone after production delays due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The company is expected to instead announce iPad and Watch news.
The iPad Air was last updated in March 2019, so it would make sense to hear news about it on Wednesday, but the internet has also been awash with rumours and leaks that a new model is coming.
An updated iPad Air is expected to look more like the iPad Pro, with a full-screen display that ditches the home button in favour of gesture-based navigation.
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It’s possible the iPad Air might use Face ID to unlock like newer iPhones and the iPad Pro does, however some have theorised it might still rely on Touch ID, in a new form.
Traditionally the fingerprint scanning security system has used the home button, but with that gone Apple will have to find a new home for it.
It’s been suggested the fingerprint sensor will be either moved to the power button, or buried underneath the screen.
If either of those things ends up being true it will be the first time Apple has moved Touch ID to anywhere other than the home button on an iPhone or iPad (some MacBook models have had a dedicated Touch ID key or an area on the Touch bar).
Underscreen fingerprint sensors have been around for a while but Apple has never used one.
It’s possible the company has never been satisfied with their quality, but some users who are okay with using Touch ID are less comfortable with using Face ID (even though Apple promises the data for both security features never leaves your device).
For them, Apple will have to come up with a solution as it seeks to get rid of the Home button.
It’s been predicted the iPad could also inherit the smart connector from the Pro model, allowing for the easy connection of some accessories like $499 the keyboard/trackpad Magic Keyboard that turns the iPad Pro into something more like a laptop.
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It’s also possible the iPad will move from Lightning to USB-C for charging and connection of some accessories.
USB-C is considered the future of connections (the ones that can’t be made wireless at least).
Like Lightning, it’s a reversible connector so you can’t try and plug it in the wrong way.
USB-C is also faster at transferring data, and can send video and signals and power at the same time (this could let you plug your iPad into a bigger USB-C screen for example).
It’s slightly bigger than the Lightning connection but much smaller than previous USB ports.
Those advantages aren’t likely to be the main reason Apple adopts it however.
The European Union is trying to force a common charging standard for all mobile device makers doing business in the region, to make it easier for consumers and to reduce e-waste from manufacturers making proprietary chargers.
Apple already uses USB-C for the iPad Pro and newer Mac computers.
Wednesday’s Time Flies event will stream via the Apple Events page.