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Next-gen iPad Air leak shows a feature never before seen on any iPad or iPhone

Published Aug 27th, 2020 11:04AM EDT
iPad Air 2020 Release Date
Image: Apple Inc.
  • Several rumors said a new iPad Air will be released this year with a bigger screen than the previous generation.
  • A brand new leak featuring images from a purported iPad Air manual seems to corroborate those reports, revealing a brand new feature that Apple hasn’t used elsewhere in its iPhone or iPad lineups.
  • Recent reports claim the new iPad Air release date might be close, with Apple expected to debut new iPadOS hardware as soon as next month.

Apple updated its iPad Pro line with new models earlier this year and the iPad Pro is the best iPadOS tablet you can buy. Starting at $799, the cheapest iPad Pro is significantly more expensive than the mid-range iPad Air ($499) and the entry-level iPad ($329). But for that price, you get a much better screen that has a smaller bezel, Face ID support, a more sophisticated camera system, and the latest A-series chip available. If $799 still seems too expensive, then you’ll surely love the following iPad Air rumor that says the next-gen mid-range tablet will get the iPad Pro’s big screen thanks to a new feature that has never been seen before on any other iPad or even any iPhone.

Images from the purported Spanish-language manual of the next-gen iPad Air leaked from China and ended up on Twitter. The photos below indicate the tablet will have the same thin bezel as the iPad Pros, which is an excellent upgrade over the previous designs that featured larger bezels.

The Touch ID home button is the reason why cheaper tablets still feature thicker bezels. The fingerprint sensor hasn’t been replaced on these models with Face ID, which is a more expensive upgrade. That’s why Face ID is only present on the iPad Pro models in Apple’s tablet lineup.

The iPad Air will seemingly not get Face ID. If this leak is accurate, the iPad Air will still rely on Touch ID, but the fingerprint sensor will have a different implementation. There’s no room for a home button inside that thin bezel and Apple will not incorporate the sensor under the screen. Instead, the Touch ID button will be placed inside the standby button on the top edge of the tablet. If this iPad Air leak is accurate, the tablet will be the first Apple tablet or smartphone to feature a fingerprint sensor on the side button. The feature isn’t entirely new in the industry, as older Android handsets did come with side-mounted fingerprint sensors.

Aside from the novel Touch ID approach and the more significant screen upgrade, the iPad Air will also pack USB-C connectivity instead of Lightning and a Smart Connector on the back, according to these images. The iPad Air manual does look genuine, but there’s always a chance someone faked it all. It’s unclear who would go through all that effort or why they’d do it.

Separately, MacRumors reminds us that previous rumors said Apple will launch a 10.8-inch iPad Air in the second half of 2020, including reports from well-known Apple insider Ming-Chi Kuo. These reports did not mention the new Touch ID implementation, but that’s the only way to extend the screen on the iPad Air without adding Face ID and driving up the price. More recently, leaker Jon Prosser said that Apple is about to launch new iPads, including the next-gen iPad and next-gen iPad Air.


Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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