The iPad Air 4 features a TouchID sensor inside its power button, and Apple has described its integration as “an incredible feat”
If you don’t want an iPad Pro, the next best option is the iPad Air. And Apple’s latest iPad Air – the iPad Air 4 – is a masterful addition to the company’s growing range of market-leading tablets.
One of the iPad Air 4’s newest features is the inclusion of TouchID inside its power button. TouchID can be used for secure access and to verify payments made using Apple Pay. Its inclusion on the iPad Air 4 wasn’t easy though…
Speaking on the iJustine podcast, a couple of Apple executives discussed the difficulties in integrating TouchID into such a small space. Normally, TouchID lives inside the home button as it does on the iPhone SE 2020 or the iPhone 8.
But on the iPad Air 4, Apple had to squeeze the sensor inside a tiny button. Apparently, this took an amazing feat of engineering to pull off…
Fitting TouchID Inside The iPad Air 4’s Power Button
“What made it so challenging is this really narrow aspect ratio that it has,” Ternus said. “If you think about it, it’s only ever seeing a smaller slice of your fingerprint than what a traditional, you know, what our older sensor could do.”
He added: “It has to be incredibly sensitive and it also has to capture as you go through the enrolment process and then as it continues to adapt over time, a broader view of the fingerprints. So no matter how you touch it with your finger, it’s got that particular portion captured and so it can do the match.”
But it wasn’t just the space that caused issues, according to the two execs. On cellular versions of the iPad Air 4, the TouchID sensor is smack bang in the middle of an incredibly sensitive antenna.
In order to ensure that there were no “problems,” Apple had to develop a bunch of sophisticated algorithms and utilize “hardcore silicon” to make the sensor work correctly and not interfere with the iPad Air 4’s antenna.
The key here was not to allow either sensor – the antenna or TouchID – to “talk over one another”.
Either way, Apple seems to have pulled it off. The iPad Air 4 has got a solid round of applause from reviewers so far; the device is massively powerful, beautifully designed, and priced very competitively.
As noted in the intro: if you cannot or do not want to spend huge amounts of money on the iPad Pro, the iPad Air is just what the doctor ordered – it has all the benefits of the Pro model, just without the massive price tag.
Also, be sure to check out all the new features coming to iPadOS 15! And check out Apple Pencil Tips & Tricks: Get The Most Out Of The Apple Pencil!
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Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.