Landscape iPad use seems to be gradually emerging as the new normal. While Apple persists in making them with the logo oriented for portrait use, we’ve recently seen signs that the company has now woken up to the reality that the devices are more often used horizontally.

The 2020 Smart Keyboard Folio, for example, finally swaps a vertical Apple logo for a horizontal one. The upcoming Magic Keyboard likewise has the logo in landscape format …

Patently Apple spotted that an Apple patent published today shows the front-facing camera and Face ID sensors moved to the horizontal side.

Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a granted patent for Apple that illustrates an iPad with its TrueDepth camera set in landscape mode. This would be more natural for using Face ID on an iPad Pro in Notebook mode.

While Apple’s iPhone X was first to receive the new TrueDepth camera with a notch, Apple’s latest granted patent illustrates Apple’s plan to add the TrueDepth camera to an iPad and more particularly, to an iPad in landscape mode as noted in patent figure 6 below.

As someone who almost always uses my iPad in landscape mode, it’s long struck me as bizarre that Apple has continued to orient the front-facing camera and logo for portrait use even as it increasingly positions the iPad and keyboard as ‘a computer.’

Landscape iPad use shown on Apple website

Moving the Face ID sensor makes particular sense, as it’s very easy to accidentally cover the camera when picking up the iPad in landscape orientation.

One less-welcome element seen in the patent is a notch for the camera. Since there is no difference in the bezel size on long and short sides of current-generation iPad Pros, that would seem entirely unnecessary.

However, the actual text of the patent does say that a notch is just one option, and that the electronics may equally be hidden in the bezels.

The display may have an active area that is bordered by an inactive area. The active area contains pixels and displays images. The inactive area does not contain any pixels and does not display images.

The inactive area may have a layer of black ink or other masking material to block internal components from view. The active area may have an opening that contains an isolated inactive area region or may contain a notch or other recess into which a portion of the inactive area protrudes. An electrical component such as a speaker, camera, light-emitting diode, light sensor, proximity sensor, strain gauge, magnetic sensor, pressure sensor, force sensor, temperature sensor, or other sensor, button, touch-sensitive component, microphone or other audio component, or other electrical device that produces output and/or gathers input, may be mounted in a portion of the inactive area that protrudes into the recess or that is located in the opening of the active area.

The inactive area may have a main region such as a rectangular region that displays images and may have one or more extended regions that extend from the main region. The extended regions may, for example, include first and second elongated rectangular extended regions that lie between the main rectangular region and the inactive border. The first and second extended regions may be located on opposing sides of a camera or other electrical component in a protruding portion or island-shaped portion of the inactive region. Icons or other information may be displayed on a black background in the extended regions, giving the display a continuous unbroken appearance.

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About the Author

Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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