Apple’s recently released iOS 12.1 beta contains code that suggests a new iPad is coming this fall. The string “iPad2018fall” was discovered by Guilherme Rambo, reporting for 9to5Mac. This, along with the numerous other leaks, suggests that we should expect a new iPad to be announced before the end of the year, possibly a new iPad Pro with Face ID and an edge-to-edge notched display.
Although we’ve already seen a new model of the standard iPad released in 2018 (which mostly delivered iterative improvements outside of Apple Pencil support), rumors suggest this upcoming iPad Pro will be a much bigger step forward.
For one thing, we’re potentially looking at the first iPad equipped with Face ID. iOS 12.1 beta brings support for the face-unlocking technology while your device is in landscape mode, a useful tweak for tablets when used with keyboard accessories.
The software also allows Memoji’s to be synced between devices. Although this could be included to serve the small number of people who use two iPhones, it’s much more likely that this is meant for people with both a phone and a tablet, implying Memoji’s imminent arrival on the iPad.
There have been other developments that also suggest Face ID is coming to this next iPad. Developers have noticed the feature cropping up in previous iPad iOS 12 betas, along with support for AvatarKit. Apple also moved the iPad’s clock from the center to the left of the status bar at the top of the device, potentially making way for an iPhone X-style notch.
Outside of Face ID, the only other significant iPad rumor comes from analyst Ming Chi-Kuo, who’s said that the upcoming iPad Pro will make the switch from Lightning to USB-C. This potentially opens the tablet up to using a world of USB-C peripherals and docks, further cementing the iPad Pro as a laptop replacement.
iOS 12.1 beta also sees a return of the group FaceTime calling feature, which was originally supposed to arrive in version 12 of the software but was later delayed.
It’s unclear when exactly we might see the new tablet. Previous iPad Pros have been released in November, March, and June over the last three years, making the lineup one of Apple’s most irregular. Although the appearance of “fall” in the 12.1 beta certainly hints at an announcement during one of Apple’s special October events.