New iPad Air’s Touch ID Power Button an ‘Incredible Feat of Engineering’ According to Apple VP

Apple VP of Product Marketing Bob Borchers and VP of Hardware Engineering John Ternus are featured in the latest episode of YouTubers iJustine and Jenna Ezarik’s Same Brain podcast where they discuss several aspects of the current iPad lineup and part of the development process that went into the latest fourth-generation ‌iPad‌ Air.


Speaking on the new ‌iPad‌ Air, Borchers says that implementing the Touch ID sensor into the top button in a much smaller form factor was “an incredible feat of engineering.” Ternus explains that the narrow aspect ratio of the sensor made it quite challenging to implement. The sensor needed to be “incredibly sensitive” and would have to capture a broader view of the fingerprint in the initial enrollment process and over time.

In the cellular model of the ‌iPad‌ Air, Ternus notes that the top portion of the enclosure is simply the antenna, and much work was conducted to ensure that the ‌Touch ID‌ sensor and antenna didn’t interfere with one another since both are highly sensitive instruments. He adds that much “hardcore silicon and engineering” went into ensuring that the sensor could deliver the same level of security offered by its previous iteration.

With the introduction of the Neural Engine in the ‌iPad‌ Air, Borchers notes that an increase in on-device processing brings more powerful capabilities to ‌iPad‌ and offers a greater level of privacy to users.

The current iPad Pro lineup features the A12Z Bionic processor, and notably, the new ‌iPad‌ Air is the first device to implement Apple’s latest A14 Bionic processor. Borchers mentions that A12Z is “optimized for pro workflows and experiences, especially those that may be more graphics-intensive.” Speaking on the differences between the two, he notes that the A12Z has an advantage on “things that may be more graphically intensive,” while the A14 offers “all-around amazing capabilities.”

Check out the full nearly 40-minute podcast for more from Borchers and Ternus.

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