2024 iPad Pro and iPad Air could get this major design change

iPad Pro 11 Mini LED display rumor
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When it comes to Apple products, the cheaper products tend to inherit features from the more expensive ones over time. The upcoming 2024 iPad Pro and iPad Air 6 look set to reverse that, by adopting a design change first seen on the far cheaper iPad 10.

Back in January, the iPadOS 17.4 beta code hinted that the iPad Pro’s Face ID sensors were being relocated from the top of the device when held in portrait, and to the top when held in landscape. 

“During Face ID setup, iPad needs to be in landscape with the camera at the top of the screen,” some text within the code read. Thankfully, that doesn’t mean it will need to be held in landscape mode whenever you want to access it, however, with the text adding that it can unlock in both portrait and landscape after setup is complete.

Now, the Weibo leaker Instant Digital has claimed that the design move is also coming to the iPad Air. “The camera position of iPad Air 6 10.9/12.9 has been moved to the horizontal center,” the tipster writes.

While it’s undoubtedly unusual for high-end Apple devices to take design lessons from the entry-level ones, this is a welcome move. As our global editor-in-chief, Mark Spoonauer, wrote in his iPad 10 review, moving the camera to the long edge is a “welcome shift” that “makes for more natural video calls in landscape mode, especially when your iPad is docked in the Magic Keyboard Folio.”

If anything, it makes even more sense for the ‘Pro’ iPads, which Apple more often sells as laptop replacements. Indeed, the Smart Keyboard began life as an accessory exclusively available for the iPad Pro (and it’s rumored to be getting a big redesign for the upcoming version).

Assuming that the upcoming entry-level 2024 iPad keeps the new camera position, then that would leave the iPad mini as the only tablet with an unconfirmed front-facing camera position. Apple may or may follow suit with the iPad mini 7, and we’re in two minds as to whether that’s likely or not. 

On one hand, Apple does enjoy consistency across designs, but on the other, the smaller form factor of the mini makes it closer to a smartphone, where the front-facing camera naturally sits at the top. Indeed, we’d imagine that fewer people use it as a laptop substitute because keyboard cases are significantly smaller, for a less comfortable typing experience.

We’ll hopefully get confirmation of the changes for some of the iPads soon. It’s previously been suggested that both the iPad Pro and iPad Air (now in 10.9 and 12.9-inch configurations) could arrive before the month is out.

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.