iOS 17.4 Beta Unveils Significant iPad Pro Camera Redesign

Hidden code found by 9to5Mac in the just-released iOS 17.4 beta reveals that Apple is planning on making a future iPad model with a Face ID camera in landscape orientation. That iPad model is probably an upcoming iPad Pro. Currently, every iPad Pro variant with the TrueDepth Camera for Face ID has the camera on the side when the tablet is held in landscape. This is done so that the camera is at the top of the iPad Pro when it is held in portrait. One problem is that when using the Magic Keyboard accessory with the iPad Pro, the tablet is placed in landscape. And with the TrueDepth Camera on the side in this scenario, it makes it awkward to use for video conferencing.

The strings of code found in the iOS 17.4 beta include a rewritten iOS setup process that includes the following sentences, “Face ID needs to be in landscape to learn how to recognize you,” and “During Face ID setup, iPad needs to be in landscape with the camera at the top of the screen. Once setup is complete, Face ID works in portrait and landscape.” These strings indicate that there will be a change in the positioning of the TrueDepth Camera with the next-gen iPad Pro model at the top of the unit when it is held in landscape orientation.

The only iPad model available now with a front-facing camera at the top of the device in landscape is the 10th-generation iPad which is the most basic iPad model in the current lineup. As a result, the device uses Touch ID instead of Face ID, and the tablet does not use the TrueDepth Camera. Bloomberg’s well-connected analyst Mark Gurman says that Apple is working on redesigned accessories for the next-gen iPad Pro which could feature OLED displays and possibly add MagSafe compatibility.