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Lines of code unearthed in Apple's first iOS 12.1 beta, released earlier on Tuesday, suggest a future version of the operating system will support syncing of Memoji characters over iCloud, a feature that points to potential integration with a rumored iPad Pro with TrueDepth camera array. Further spelunking reveals references to an "iPad2018Fall," hinting that the device could launch soon.
Included in the initial beta release is a new daemon called "avatarsd," which 9to5Mac believes will be used for syncing and storing Memoji data through iCloud.
Not much is known about the feature as it is currently restricted to iOS 12.1 builds distributed internally at Apple. If avatarsd does indeed sync Memoji over iCloud, however, its existence suggests Apple is working to build its TrueDepth sensor into devices beyond iPhone.
Introduced with iOS 12 on Monday, Memoji is Apple's take on customizable 3D avatars. Similar to Animoji, animated emoji characters introduced in iOS 11, Memoji react to head and face movements captured by iPhone's TrueDepth camera.
User-created Memoji are stored on a local device, which is currently limited to iPhone X, but will expand to iPhone XS and XS Max on Friday. Save for the handful of people who own and use multiple iPhones, syncing Memoji to iCloud makes little sense and would be an unlikely candidate for iOS 12.1 unless something else is coming.
While mere speculation, Apple could be preparing for an as-yet-unannounced device with TrueDepth integration, one that is used in conjunction with or addition to iPhone. A prime candidate is a much-rumored next-generation iPad Pro.
Reports last November first suggested Apple was at work on an iPad revamp that ditched Touch ID for Face ID biometric authentication, a change expected to afford space for a nearly edge-to-edge display. Code uncovered today hints at support for Face ID in landscape mode, seemingly backing up months of rumors.
Some believed Apple would announce the new iPad Pro at its September event, but the company reserved last week's gathering for iPhone XR, XS, XS Max and Apple Watch Series 4. In fact, Apple only used its annual iPhone event as a platform to introduce new iPad products once in 2015 with the iPad mini 4. The company typically unveils its latest and greatest slates during a separate event in October, though the second-generation iPad Pro debuted last June.
Indeed, code in the latest iOS 12.1 beta references an "iPad2018Fall" device identifier, hinting that Apple will maintain it usual October launch cycle this year.