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A deep dive into Apple's iOS 12 beta 5 reveals a graphical user interface element that appears to show an unreleased iPad model without a traditional home button or top and bottom screen bezels, a design in line with rumors detailing this year's iPad Pro hardware refresh.
A small blue icon tucked away in iOS 12's battery usage UI seemingly confirms the design, and certain key features, of Apple's new tablet lineup expected to launch later this year.
Spotted by 9to5Mac on Wednesday, the "HLSipad2" asset shows a line drawing of what looks to be a portable device distinct from Apple's iPhone products.
Compared to previous "HLSipad" iconography, the newly discovered iOS 12 beta element lacks typical iPad characteristics like "forehead" and "chin" bezels that house the unit's FaceTime HD camera and Touch ID home button, respectively. Notably, both "HLSipad" and "HLSipad2" icons sport an identical home screen layout with 12 apps on the main page and four in the dock.
Though merely icons, the assets seem to suggest plans to squeeze a larger screen into iPad Pro's form factor.
Beyond the bezels, the icon is clear of an iPhone X-esque "notch" or cutout some suggested Apple would implement as part of a transition to Face ID biometric authentication. When Apple embedded Face ID's True Depth camera system in iPhone it had to decide between retaining a top bezel or sacrificing a bit of screen real estate to achieve a true edge-to-edge display. Since iPad is built on a much larger form factor — and does not require an ear speaker — the company has more design latitude to accommodate a True Depth module without encroaching on screen space.
Apple is widely expected to integrate Face ID in its next-generation iPad Pro lineup, freeing up valuable space for a thin bezel design. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes the unused headroom will go toward a larger 11-inch display in the smaller of Apple's pro-level tablets, up from the current 10.5 inches as measured on the diagonal.