Next iPad Air could boast Mini LED display and under-glass Touch ID


iPad Air
New iPad Air could have an all-display screen.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The new iPad Air will boast a Mini LED display and display-based Touch ID instead of Face ID, an Apple leaker claims.

Twitter user @L0vetodream, who has previously correctly shared details about forthcoming Apple devices, said that the iPad will therefore feature a full screen display with no notch. Last year’s iPad Air refresh sported a physical Home button.

@L0vetodream’s tweet was sent last month, although it has only just come to light.

It’s not clear when this iPad would apparently ship. The first-gen iPad Air shipped in November 2013. The iPad Air 2 arrived a year later in October 2014. The next big iPad Air release took place in March 2019, five years after the iPad Air 2.

A recent report suggested that Apple’s first Mini LED iPad could be pushed back to early 2021. However, this is rumored to be an iPad Pro and not an iPad Air.

Apple could theoretically debut the Mini LED screen technology on the Air, before moving it to the Pro later on. However, it seems unusual for Apple to do this rather than debut major new technologies on a flagship device and let them later trickle down to lower-end devices. A March report from TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted that the Mini LED technology could be exclusive to a 12.9-inch iPad model initially.

Mini LED would allow Apple to create thinner and more lightweight designs than is possible currently. It could do this while retaining the color accuracy, high contrast and dynamic range, and efficiency of OLED.

Under-glass Touch ID for the iPad Air?

Just as interesting is the mention of under-glass Touch ID. Apple was rumored to be developing this for the iPhone 8 in 2017. However, it never wound up shipping as Apple instead jumped to Face ID. Face ID is probably faster than Touch ID in terms of unlocking a device. However, it would allow Apple to create a full all-display device, rather than requiring a notch screen cutout.

Are you interested in under-glass Touch ID? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.