Patents aren’t written in stone, but they’re definitely a glimpse into what a company is mulling for future products. On that front, a newly released Apple patent hints the company is finally recognizing that most people use their iPads in landscape mode by shifting the front-facing camera and FaceID sensors onto the horizontal side. The catch is that one diagram shows a notch for those components.
The patent was filed in August 2016 and was initially spotted by Patently Apple. The document itself highlights a plan to add a front-facing camera, and potentially other components, to a horizontal bezel on an iPad. In the summary, the patent notes that “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.”
It’s no secret that notches are divisive. Some people don’t give a flying banana and are completely over it. Others will rant for an absurdly long time about whether they’re actually necessary. Back in 2018, notch rage was real when Apple adopted it with the iPhone X. Like then, it would appear this proposed iPad notch is a means to an end. It’s also perhaps a signal that Apple is ready to realize that setting portrait mode on the iPad as the default is stupid, considering most people use it as a media device.
The switch to a default landscape mode also jibes with Apple pushing the iPad as a secondary work device. A few weeks ago, Apple announced a refreshed iPad Pro with a Magic Keyboard accessory that prioritizes landscape mode over portrait so it can double as a laptop. If this is the future of iPads, then it would make way more sense to add a camera and FaceID sensor into the horizontal bezel. That said, since the patent is quick to note that adding a camera notch is only one of many possibilities, wouldn’t it just be smarter to avoid a second round of notch rage entirely? That’s doubly true since it doesn’t appear that there’s any difference in width on any of the iPad Pro’s bezels. Not to mention, doing so would save app developers the headache of tweaking apps to accommodate a largely unnecessary addition.
Granted, there are way more serious things to get upset about these days, especially since patents aren’t definitive. But in favor of finding a distraction from the trash fire news cycle, blowing off steam over something ultimately trivial seems as good an outlet for stress as any.