Apple’s upcoming release of iOS 12 will foreshadow the release of new iPad and iPhone X Plus models by adding horizontal Face ID support, according to separate claims from Japanese Apple blog Macotakara and Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman. The small but important detail comes a month before Apple holds its annual Worldwide Developers’ Conference, where all of the company’s operating systems are generally updated.
Face ID debuted as a key feature of the iPhone X, relying on a depth-sensing front camera to recognize the user’s face for screen unlocking, Apple Pay purchasing, and other security features. By replacing Touch ID, Face ID enabled Apple to entirely eliminate the Home button found on every iPhone since the first model, enlarging the iPhone X’s screen in the process. But unlike Touch ID, which worked with fingers on any angle, Face ID currently only works when the phone is held upright with its front-facing camera above the screen.
According to Gurman, the addition of horizontal Face ID to iOS 12 is “for the iPads,” referring to updates expected later this year for the iPad Pro. Apple is thought to be preparing revised versions of the 10.5- and 12.9-inch iPad models with Face ID rather than Touch ID hardware, enabling the company to either reduce the larger iPads’ footprints or increase their screen sizes. Since these iPads are frequently used in horizontal rather than vertical orientations, however, a Face ID system would need to work on both axes, instead of the vertical-only system currently found on the iPhone X.
The same improvement would also likely yield benefits for…