Next year’s iPad Pro models will be equipped with a TrueDepth camera and Face ID support, notable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities predicted on Monday.
The move would bring advanced facial recognition to Apple’s entire lineup of high-end or premium iOS devices. This would allow the user experience to be consistent with this year’s iPhone X, and will likely boost competitiveness and “ecosystem development” for Apple’s family of products, Kuo wrote in a research note distributed to investors earlier this morning.
“We predict iOS devices to be equipped with TrueDepth Camera in 2018F will include iPhone X and 2018 new iPhone and iPad models,” Kuo wrote.
Initially, at least, TrueDepth Cameras will be limited to Apple’s flagship iPad Pro lineup in 2018 — meaning that any entry-level iPad devices might be left out of the loop next year. But Kuo had previously predicted that Apple would include a TrueDepth camera system across its entire iPhone lineup next year as well. That’s largely dependent on the consumer response to Face ID in lieu of Touch ID, of course.
On a different note, because of the proliferation of advanced facial tracking and recognition hardware, Kuo also believes that more app developers will begin to “pay attention” to Apple’s TrueDepth technology. As a result, it’s likely that developers will start to implement TrueDepth and facial recognition technology into more applications going forward.
TrueDepth relies on cutting-edge technology such as infrared and 3D sensors to work, meaning that it’s a much more advanced system than the facial recognition suites seen in recent Samsung devices. Indeed, Face ID and TrueDepth platforms have spurred Android competitors to come up with their own advanced facial recognition solution.
It’s also likely that Android app developers will scramble to field facial-recognition apps, too. “We expect Apple’s (US) major promotion of facial recognition applications will encourage the Android camp to also dedicate more resources to developing hardware and facial recognition applications,” Kuo wrote.
In a separate research note, Kuo noted that Android phone makers may abandon touch recognition, as they’ve recently ramped up their work on facial biometric solutions. Despite that, Kuo said that Apple has at least a 2-and-a-half year lead over even its closest rivals in terms of the technology present in TrueDepth and Face ID. Of course, whether it will really take Android makers until 2019 to deploy their own advanced facial recognition remains to be seen.
The iPhone X, Apple’s first device with TrueDepth and Face ID, is slated to launch on Nov. 3. As far as when TrueDepth-equipped iPad Pro devices will debut, that’s not currently clear. However, the iPad Pro lineup was last updated in June. Judging by that, we can expect new Apple tablets as soon as the first half of next year.