A new report from the Japanese site Macotakara— as noted by 9to5Mac — says the upcoming iPad Pro will drop the headphone jack, adopt Face ID, and move the Smart Connector the to lower rear side – close to the Lightning connector. The Sellers Research Group (that’s me) says the latter isn’t going to happen.
That would be disastrous. The Smart Connector transfers data and power between iPad Pro and compatible accessories. No batteries or charging is required. For instance, when you attach a compatible keyboard, you can immediately start typing. When you remove it, the onscreen keyboard automatically reappears.
Lots of folks use the iPad Pro with a Smart Keyboard for typing. In fact, this is essential for using the tablet as a laptop replacement — as Apple likes to promote it.
Unless Apple has some amazing alternative, moving the Smart Connector to the rear side would mean the need for a new keyboard and one that would only work when the iPad Pro is sitting vertically, not in landscape mode. That makes no sense. I think the new iPads support Face ID ONLY if it can be supported in vertical and landscape modes.
As for ditching the headphone jack, that’s a possibility. After all, Apple did it (with much controversy) with iPhone X.
Macotakara’s other tidbits about the iPad Pro’s size make sense. The 10.5-inch model is said to come in at 247.5mm (H) x 178.7mm (W) x 6mm (T), compared to the current dimensions of 250.6mm x 174.1mm x 6.1 mm. Meanwhile, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is said to stack up at 280mm (H) x 215mm (W) x 6.4mm (T), which compares to the current-generation model at 305.7 x 220.6 x 6.9 mm. This means the super-sized iPad would fit the same size display in a smaller frame.
Now that makes sense.