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2018 iPad Pro redesign is both brilliant and stupid

2018 iPad Pro redesign is both brilliant and stupid – Cult of Mac

The possibly-leaked pictures of the new 2018 iPad Pro look great. Somehow, though, some writers have gotten the idea that these pictures prove that Face ID will only work when the iPad is in portrait orientation. Cult of Mac’s Ed Hardy puts together some terrible arguments for why this is a disaster for Apple. Or for iPad users, at least. Note, I write daily for Cult of Mac, and I’d put this in the comments over there, but I‘m not a fan of comments, so I’m posting it here.

iPad Pro: the bad news

Most of the negative design changes in the next 12.9-inch iPad Pro apparently are the result of Apple’s inability to get Face ID working in landscape mode. This means that in order to unlock the device, or use Apple Pay, the computer will have to be in portrait mode.

To accommodate this significant limitation, the images based on newly-leaked CAD drawings indicate that the Smart Connector for external keyboards is moving from the left edge of the tablet to the bottom, next to the Lightning port.This will allow keyboards to connect to the iPad Pro while it’s in portrait mode.

All of this ignores the fact that most people primarily use their iPad in landscape mode. Especially when they’re typing. So anyone with an external keyboard will have to pick up their computer and rotate it 90º to unlock it, auto-fill passwords on websites, auto-fall their credit card number, etc. [emphasis added]

I’d say this is completely wrong. I almost never use my iPad in landscape mode. Only when I type a long chunk of text, watch a movie, or use an app like GarageBand that doesn’t support portrait orientation. From what I see, out and about, this is the norm. The iPad has always been a portrait-first computer. The Apple logo on the back is upright when the iPad is held vertically. The existing FaceTime camera is at the top. Landscape has always been the second choice, according to Apple anyway.

And all this is only relevant if the Face ID camera doesn’t work in landscape.

An unfortunate side effect of moving the Smart Connector is that it makes every current accessory that uses this proprietary port incompatible with the 2018 iPad Pro. That includes Apple’s own Smart Keyboard.

How many accessories use the Smart Connector? A few keyboards, and that’s it. And if the new iPad is smaller than the current iPad, none of these existing keyboard cases will fit anyway. If there is a problem here at all, it isn’t the Smart Connector’s position. It’s using a keyboard that has to be connected to the iPad to function.

But that’s just the start: because the 2018 model will be smaller than either of its predecessors, virtually all accessories designed for the earlier models are also incompatible.

Tell me about that other time when Apple decided not to shrink an iPad, iPhone, iPod, or Mac, just so people could keep using their existing accessories. That has never happened, and never will. Whining about that is pointless. You might not like it, but if you didn’t expect it, you’re a fool. I have a few friends who are holding off buying accessories because they figure the new iPad will be smaller.

These photos, published by MySmartPrice, are very interesting. I’d buy that iPad. But they don’t indicate that FaceID will only work in portrait orientation. And as a mentioned above, a new iPad was never going to fit old accessories.

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