iPad Air 2: Alleged Photos Reveal Touch ID and New Volume Buttons

Apple is expected to release a new iPad later this year, most likely in the fall along with a new iPad mini. Not a whole lot is known about the iPad Air 2, but new leaked photos reveal what the refreshed slate could look like.

The iPad Air 2 isn’t expected to get a huge redesign as the iPad Air was the model to see a major refresh. Apple typically doesn’t overhaul its products’ designs until a couple of generations have passed, so we can expect the iPad Air 2 to keep the same overall look as the iPad Air, except for some small, but impactful changes.

These new photos reveal a mockup of the iPad Air 2, which come from nowhereelse.fr. The overall design of the iPad Air 2 remains the same, but the photos show us that the new tablet will come with Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint sensor, as well as a redesigned speaker grille and recessed volume buttons.

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The volume buttons keep the same design as the iPad Air, but are simply recessed slightly into the body of the tablet. As for the speaker grille, the mockup that is pictured sports a single horizontal line of larger holes, which is a drastic difference than the smaller holes that were arranged in two rows on the iPad Air.

However, the mockup has the mute switch missing and is replaced by a small hole that’s most likely only there for machining purposes. We’re guessing the mute switch will be there on the final product, so there’s probably no need to worry about the missing switch on the mockup.

Of course, we’d take these photos with a grain of salt, since nothing is official, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see something like this come October when Apple reveals a new iPad.

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It’s already been rumored a couple times this year that the iPad would get Touch ID fingerprint sensor capabilities. We even saw hints of Touch ID capabilities in the code of iOS 7.1 back in April, and a few days later we heard that one of Apple’s part suppliers were cranking out Touch ID fingerprint sensors in large quantities.

In a few lines of code in iOS 7.1, it’s been discovered that Touch ID just might be headed to iPad sooner or later. Several of the lines of code that serve as the framework for Touch ID are being listed as compatible with both the iPhone and the iPad, which can only mean that Apple is at least testing out Touch ID functionality on the iPad.

Then again, code or no code, it seems likely that Apple will introduce Touch ID to the iPad lineup at some point, especially after how big of a feature it became with the iPhone 5s; it’s certainly one of the best hardware features we’ve seen on an iOS product to date, and Apple will likely capitalize on that fact.

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Touch ID was definitely one of the features that users were looking forward to ahead of the iPad Air event back in October, especially after it was introduced on the new iPhone 5s just a month earlier, but Apple sadly did not deliver such a feature.

Technically, we weren’t too surprised about this, as it’s possible that Apple wanted the Touch ID technology to be around for a year or so and see how it did before expanding the feature to other iOS devices. However, it’s still a possibility with the iPad Air 2 that we’ll most likely see later this year into the fall.

One of the biggest reasons that the Touch ID fingerprint sensor is so popular on the iPhone 5s is because of the convenience it offers when unlocking your device and purchasing apps in the iTunes App Store. It’s a lot quicker and easier than entering in your passcode every time, as well as typing in your confusing Apple ID password whenever you want to buy an app.

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That same convenience could easily be used on the iPad as well. It wouldn’t necessarily be more useful on the iPad compared to the iPhone 5s, but Touch ID on the iPad would bring over the same great conveniences that we’ve known from the iPhone 5s for the last several months.

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