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Leak shows the new iPad Pro’s most mysterious component

Published Aug 24th, 2018 8:06PM EDT
New iPad Pro 2018

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Apple is expected to launch two new iPad Pro models later this year, both of them sporting a revamped design inspired by the iPhone X. While the iPad Pros aren’t expected to feature notch bezels, they should support Face ID authentication, which will replace the iconic home button. As a result, the 2018 iPad Pros will have slimmer bezels than their predecessors.

Distinct reports from credible sources have revealed these details about the incoming iPad Pro models in the past. But a brand new leak, which seems to corroborate a previous rumor, indicates that the new iOS tablets will also pack a mysterious feature.

Posted on SlashLeaks, these images show a protective case for the new iPad that has a strange opening towards the bottom of the tablet, on the other side where the home button would be placed.

Image source: SlashLeaks

If that looks familiar, that’s because 2018 iPad Pro CAD schematics that leaked a few weeks ago showed the same design peculiarity.

Image source: Twitter

As MacRumors explains, the purpose of the opening is unclear. Before, we heard that the iPad Pro will feature a Smart Connector where that bottom cutout is placed, which would let users dock the tablet in portrait mode rather than landscape. Those reports said that Face ID only works in portrait mode on the tablet, contradicting previous rumors that said Apple is upgrading Face ID to also work in landscape mode.

Image source: SlashLeaks

One other purpose of that rear-facing pill would be to deliver Touch ID functionality. Apple, however, has never placed a fingerprint sensor on the back of devices. Last year, Apple seemed to make it clear that it doesn’t want to combine the two features.

However, a rear-facing fingerprint sensor would make sense on a tablet, especially if Face ID only works in portrait mode. Touch ID could be used when the tablet is docked in landscape mode. Before you ask, yes, the case has cutouts that indicate docking the tablet in landscape mode will be supported.

Apple should unveil the new iPad Pros this September.

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.