A report back in July claimed that Apple was moving the Smart Connector on the new iPad Pro, placing it just above the Lightning port. This was supported a few days later by a CAD image which showed an outline in the same position.
Today, a claimed iPad Pro case reveals a slot which matches both the position and shape of the CAD image …
The case photos were posted on Slashleaks.
The original report claimed that the reason for moving the connector was because Face ID – expected to be added to the new iPad Pro models – would only work in vertical orientation. That claim made no sense, as both keyboards and Split View are designed for use in horizontal orientation, and a later report said that Face ID would work in both portrait and landscape modes.
Keyboard use in portrait mode isn’t impossible. Indeed, Apple once sold a keyboard dock for the iPad designed for vertical use.
However, that wasn’t the most portable of products, and the current-generation Apple and competitor keyboard cases wouldn’t work in this orientation.
The case does have a second cutout on the long edge. This is in roughly the right position for the existing Smart Connector, though curiously on the opposite long edge. This could suggest two Smart Connectors, though that would add to production cost, take up more room inside the casing and represent a compromise to Apple’s minimalist design aesthetic.
At this stage, it’s hard to make sense of it. Post your theories in the comments …