Apple Executive Says New iPad Air’s Touch ID Power Button an ‘Incredible Feat of Engineering’


With the new iPad Air refresh, Apple debuted a Touch ID-integrated power button. Apple’s VP of Product Marketing Bob Borchers and VP of Hardware Engineering John Ternus have now talked about the new iPad and its Touch ID implementation in the latest Same Brain podcast episode.

Talking about integrating Touch ID into the power button, Borchers said that it was an “incredible feat of engineering.” Ternus then explained that since the power button is quite slim, the company needed to make the sensor incredibly sensitive and also ensure that it is able to capture a wide view of the fingerprint. On the cellular models of the iPad Air 4, Ternus says the entire top portion acts as an antenna, with “hardware silicon and engineering” required to ensure the cellular modem and the Touch ID scanner did not interfere with each other since they are both very sensitive.

With the addition of Neural Engine on the iPad Air, the executives noted the device will now be notably faster in on-device processing tasks and also allow developers to build more powerful apps. As for the difference between the iPad Air 4 and the 2020 iPad Pro in terms of performance, Borchers said that the A12Z Bionic is meant for “pro workflows” that are more graphically-intensive, while the A14 inside the iPad Air 4 offers “all-around amazing capabilities.”

The new iPad Air was announced by Apple last month at its ‘Time Flies’ event and the device will go on sale from sometime this month.

Our Take

With Apple finally getting around to integrating a Touch ID sensor in the power button, it is possible we could see the company bring the same technology to its future iPhones. Perhaps the iPhone SE 3 refresh could see the company debut this feature on its iPhone lineup as adding Face ID to it could make the device too expensive.

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