Apple’s iPad Air 4 Allegedly Leaks With Thinner Bezels, USB-C And Relocated Touch ID

ipad air 4
Apple is widely expected to launch a new iPhone 12 family next month with an A14 Bionic SoC, OLED displays, and 5G support. However, the company is also planning to launch a new Apple Watch Series 6 and fresh iPad tablets. A new leak today is shedding light on the new iPad Air 4, and it’s a pretty big leak.

A manual for the iPad Air 4 has reportedly been spotted, and it shows an all-new design for Apple’s “middle child” iPad tablet. What’s immediately visible is that Apple has completely abandoned the old school Home button in favor of thinner bezels and a design more in keeping with the flagship iPad Pro family.

While the new iPad Air doesn’t have a Home button with integrated Touch ID, it also apparently doesn’t have Face ID either (which is found on the iPad Pro and iPhone 11). So how is Apple handling biometric authentication? According to this leak, Touch ID is now incorporated into the power button, as we’ve seen with a number of Android smartphones. This is a new approach for Apple, however, but is probably a cheaper solution than adding Face ID hardware to the tablet.

Although we can’t actually see it, the manual references a USB-C port, which would also further align the iPad Air 4 with the iPad Pro. Apple is slowly moving its iPads to USB-C, so we’re not quite sure why Apple is stubbornly avoiding the port for its iPhones (the iPhone 12 family will reportedly continue to use a Lightning port). 

Other things that we can gleam from the manual include a single camera on the back of the tablet along with a Smart Connector near the bottom. One additional item that we should mention is Apple Pencil support. Given that the iPad Air 4 now supports a USB-C port, it wouldn’t be able to support the original Apple Pencil, which recharges via a Lightning port. That would lead us to believe that the iPad Air 4 will support the second-generation Apple Pencil from the iPad Pro, which charges while magnetically attached along the right side of the tablet.

The current iPad Air uses an A12 Bionic SoC, so it’s probable that the iPad Air 4 will upgrade to the A13 Bionic currently used in the iPhone 11 family. We can also expect the continued availability of cellular models. And if Apple sticks to its current pricing regimen, the iPad Air 4 will be priced from $499 when it launches next month.