On Oct. 9, well-known and generally reliable KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo made an interesting, albeit unsurprising, prediction (via MacRumors) that all of Apple's (AAPL 2.45%) iPhones and iPads released next year will include the company's TrueDepth camera subsystem.
Apple's TrueDepth camera is used to enable features such as Face ID biometric authentication and Apple's new animated emojis (marketed as "Animoji") in the recently announced iPhone X.
It shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that Apple wants to proliferate this technology across its product lines as quickly as possible to improve the competitiveness of its products as well as try to spur upgrade activity among its iPhone and iPad user base.
A dramatic overhaul for iPad
With the inclusion of a TrueDepth camera and commensurate removal of the Home button, Apple should be able to significantly reduce the size of the top and bottom bezels of the iPad, increasing the screen-to-body ratio of the device dramatically.
Apple could leverage the bezel reduction to either reduce the physical footprints of its current iPad models (the 10.5-inch iPad Pro is manageable, but the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is arguably unwieldy), or to pack even larger screens into the current form factors.
My guess is that it'll go with the former. The screens are already large enough and if Apple plans to transition to pricier organic light emitting diode (OLED) displays, increasing screen size would probably add unnecessary cost to what will already be relatively expensive parts.
A sleeker form factor, support for all the features that the TrueDepth camera brings to the table, as well as the use of an OLED display could make for a new line of iPads that'll be hard for many to resist.
A nice step for iPhone
Keep in mind that Apple's iPhone X already has a TrueDepth camera, so Apple wouldn't be introducing a fundamentally new feature to is iPhone lineup next year. What it would be doing is bringing the technology, and all of the new use cases that it enables, to a wider range of customers and price points.
That's still exciting, though, as only one of the three new iPhones released this year had the technology -- the iPhone X starting at $999.
Though I do expect the average price of new iPhones to go up next year, Kuo's prediction, if true, would imply that even the entry-level iPhone with a 6-inch liquid crystal display (LCD) will have the technology, too.
Apple can probably leverage the TrueDepth camera technology to deliver an iPhone with a 6-inch LCD that has much smaller bezels and physical footprint than today's iPhone 8 Plus -- though I suspect Apple will need to keep some top bezels to incorporate the TrueDepth camera system as well as some bottom bezel for symmetry.
The proliferation of TrueDepth across Apple's new iPhones next year would be a good thing for the lineup, allowing Apple to offer more attractive products at a wider range of price points.