It’s all but certain that some visual cues of iPhone X will eventually trickle down to the iPad line. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior,and it certainly doesn’t take lots of mental gymnastics to recall at least a few moments where an iPhone feature (hardware or software) pioneered the way for its bigger iPad cousin to follow.

To give you a few from the hip, thinner bezels, color choices or the cameras built into iPads have routinely followed the iPhone’s lead, repeatedly mimicking Apple’s trailblazing phone with a sometimes marginal, sometimes noticeable lag.

By the same token, as soon as Apple took the wraps off iPhone X, my mind quickly started wandering to what I perceived to be the logical elephant in the room: does the iPhone’s coming of age equally imply that we are on the verge of an all-screen iPad X? Once you’ve challenged your brain with the proposition, sit back and witness your gray matter weigh up and think through the possible ramifications of it. Would we even want a near bezel free tablet? Is it in keeping with Apple’s iPad Pro strategy, which appears to finally have found its calling in the contested all-rounder market?

I’ve collected my thoughts on the basic premise and jotted down what I believe to be the strongest arguments for and against what I will henceforth brazenly refer to as iPad X. Mind you, this is not an exercise in self-importance, nor is it to spread my humble thoughts as gospel, but purely meant as a bedrock to kick off a hopefully lively discussion on the topic amongst you guys.

So with the iPhone’s future neatly carved out, is iPad X looming on the horizon?

You bet!

Needless to say that the most compelling argument in favor of the bezel free (but notch-toting) iPad has already been trotted out: there is a myriad of precedent for iPhone-inspired design choices impacting on iPads old and new. This sentiment alone can hardly be dispelled and makes for a solid gut-instinct kind of argument for iPad X. Embellish this with the often-quoted ‘single sheet of glass’ vision Apple reportedly espouses and it all seems to fall into place. Besides, it is not like there’s no murmurings so far pertaining to some brand new 2018 iPads and the chance of them undergoing the AMOLED treatment.

We now have complete confidence that the rumors would be in accordance with the iPhone X redesign, which would appear to drive the discussion home for most.

Similar to the iPhone, an iPad front entirely freed of the now-supplanted Touch ID sensor could accommodate for even more screen real estate, all the while retaining the default footprint. Surely, Apple must love that notion. In view of the buzz whipped up around iPhone X, reinvigorating and basically relaunching the iPad brand has to be up high on their agenda.

At the core of it, iPad X looks like a self-fulfilling prophecy. iPhone X has heralded in the new era for Apple’s range of tactile devices and both intuition as well as early reports seem to corroborate that iPad is slated to fill those shoes too – at least in the space of the next year or so.

Nope!

Alright, time to cleanse your mental palate and start over. While all of the above may hold true for the better part of iPad’s history, lately Apple’s iPad strategy has notably broken away from everything iPhone. I’m not so much talking about the fact that the latest iPads still boast features such as the headphone jack (although relevant!), but rather the concerted effort by the Cupertino company to sell and market iPads as nifty computers entirely divorced from iPhones. At long last, iPads have gained their own identity. As though it needed further proof, the dismissive talk of iPads being nothing but mega sized iPhones has subsided a while ago.

With that established, is it still a no-brainer that iPads have to take after the iPhone’s cues? I think not. Let’s assume the AMOLED screen rumors are on point – as well as the form factor refresh – does that necessarily posit an iPhone-esque all glass design?

Again, I don’t believe that’s a sequitur. My skepticism is rooted in three fleeting thoughts: firstly, iPad (Pros) are all about usability in any scenario, and adaptability with regards to the attachable keyboard. For either points, a bezel is of inherent value.

Secondly, the iPhone X’s design overhaul sprung from the constant scramble for more screen real estate, something which hardly exists on larger iPads.

Lastly, the removal of Touch ID would consequently demand Face ID to become common place: the technology is nascent and likely still costly. On account of that alone, I do not see Apple mainstream it across iPhones and iPads any time soon, certainly not before 2019. Yes, I’m going out on a limb with that one, but your guess is as good as mine.

The bottom line

Realistically, a good case can be made on both sides of the aisle. In my book, the iPad brand has been at a crossroads for a while and is now confidently veering away from the iPhone’s path. Therefore, all things considered, I’m inclined to say that the purported ‘radical overhaul’ in 2018 is going to double down on that trend and present the new iPad in a light distinctly different from its smaller cousin. I for one expect a gorgeous screen and perhaps slimmer device, albeit including bezels and by implication, of course, no notch. For my money, the days of iPhone dictating the terms for iPad are over. I’m not envisaging an iPad X.

Now that you’ve let me run my mouth about it, it’s your turn! What do you think is going to happen later this year and, more crucially, down the road in 2018?

  • GUY

    I just hope the iPad doesn’t get the notch, it looks nice on an iPhone because portrait is how you use it most the time, I feel like on an iPad it will come in the way in more situations due to the different ways an iPad is held.
    So I hope the new form factor means the iPad will be designed by in landscape making the notch more tolerable in every day use.

    • mahe

      Maybe it will get a notch on every side, problem solved 😉 😀

  • Charlie

    Just imagine how much they’ll have to charge for the OLED screen iPad…

  • Or? Maybe they can bring back the iPad Mini with an OLED screen.

  • It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. On iOS 11 Apple introduced a TON of fragmentation in how iOS behaves on different devices. Swipe up from the bottom of your screen? If you’re on an iPhone 8 you’re just opened Control Center, if you’re on the iPhone X you’ve just closed your app, if you’re on the iPad you’ve just shown the dock… While it would be nice to try to get some consistency back I’m not a fan of constantly changing the way things on the user base and I’m REALLY not a fan of the swipe up to close gesture. Oh well… I think Apple messed up and I’m not sure how they improve this situation…

  • I doubt that we will see bezel less iPad. However I could see Apple adding face ID into the existing bezel of the iPad next year. Who knows!

  • Jurassic

    Due to the fact that people tend to hold onto their iPads much longer than they do with their iPhones, Apple doesn’t change the design of the iPad as often as it does the iPhone.

    Apple has just a few months ago introduced a new design in the 10.5 inch iPad Pro, and the 12.9 inch iPad Pro design is only 2 years old now. It’s unlikely that we will see any design changes this year, and probably not next year too.

    But sometime in the future Apple is likely to come up with a new design with thinner bezels. However, it probably will never be “bezel free”, or even close to the thinness of bezels on the iPhone X.

    This is because we can easily hold the iPhone X in one hand, with our fingers gripping the edges (not covering the display), and use the display with our other hand. You can’t do this with an iPad. The iPad needs to have bezels that you can grip with either both hands (horizontally) or with one hand, but your thumbs need to hold the surface of the iPad due to its size and weight.

    Also, we may not see an iPad with an OLED display for a very long time… If ever. Part of the reason why the iPhone X is so much more expensive than other iPhones is that OLED displays are very expensive, and also (currently) in very short supply. Also, Samsung is (primarily) the only supplier for its own and every other company’s requirements for OLED displays. And in the immediate future, OLED displays the size of the iPad Pro models would be prohibitively expensive.

    However, Apple has recently been working with Japan Display to acquire their future advanced LCD panels, called Full Active LCDs. These are said to match or exceed some of OLED’s advantages at a lower cost.

    Also, Apple holds patents to mLED (Micro-LED) technology. This would be less expensive than OLED, with brighter displays that use less energy than OLED. But this technology is even further into the future, since they haven’t been able to come up with a full-scale production process yet.

  • Rupinder

    If an all screen iPhone X costs $1000, can you imagine how much an iPad Pro with a similar design will cost?

    • The Blank

      Minimum $5,000.

  • Beat

    The only reason I’ve found for the sudden increase on the actual iPad’s price tag is to pave the way for an even more expensive model to come.