2024 iPad Pro tipped for crucial design change

Apple is reportedly moving a crucial component to make your iPad experience a little less annoying

Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro
(Image credit: Apple)

Sometimes it's the little changes that make the biggest deal, and Apple is reportedly planning a change to the iPad Pro that'll be a really big deal if, like me, you get really annoyed by the location of the Face ID camera. For this year's models Apple is apparently moving the camera to the top as viewed in landscape mode.

That's great, because if you have a 12.9-inch iPad Pro you'll be very aware that there are two kinds of Pro users: there are the Pro users who use their iPads in landscape mode, and there are pro users who are wrong. The bigger iPad is much better in landscape mode than it is in portrait, something even Apple subtly demonstrates with the design of its Magic Keyboard (pictured), which is landscape.

And that causes a problem, because the Face ID camera in the Pro expects you to be using your device in portrait mode – so pretty much every time you need to use Face ID or the selfie camera, it'll be in the wrong place. Whenever I'm doing Face ID it always seems to be covered by my thumb; in FaceTime I always look like I'm staring slightly oddly because the camera is low in the left or right hand side of the device, not at the top.

Which iPads will be getting the repositioned Face ID camera?

The news comes via MacRumors, which reports that during iPadOS 17.4 setup (which is currently in beta) you need to have your iPad in landscape mode "with the camera at the top of the screen". The Face ID bit is significant here, because while the 10th generation iPad also has its camera in landscape mode that iPad doesn't have Face ID. So the reference here is clearly for the iPad Pro, which for now at least is the only iPad with Apple's face detection feature. 

It could also be a sign that the iPad Air is getting the tech, although for now there's nothing to suggest that's anything other than wishful thinking on my part.

The next generation of Airs and Pros are expected this spring, possibly as early as late March or early April, and the iPadOS updates support that timing: iPadOS 18 is still many months away, so it's iPadOS 17 that'll need to support any hardware changes.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series; her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, was shortlisted for the British Book Awards. When she’s not scribbling, Carrie is the singer in Glaswegian rock band Unquiet Mind (unquietmindmusic).