Apple is widely expected to unveil two brand new iPad tablets next month, and they may pack a surprise. A new report from Digitimes on Wednesday cites Taiwan-based component makers in claiming that Apple’s fifth-generation full-size iPad and its second-generation iPad mini tablet will both feature new sapphire crystal home buttons. Apple’s upcoming new iPhone 5s utilizes sapphire crystal instead of plastic for the home button as well, and the purpose is to protect the brand new Touch ID fingerprint scanner found beneath the glass. Digitimes’ report doesn’t specifically state that Apple’s next iPads will include the new fingerprint scanner, though a switch to sapphire would certainly make the inclusion of a fingerprint sensor a good possibility.
The report also notes that Apple is considering a switch to sapphire crystal to replace gorilla glass on the face of its iPhones, however price remains a huge obstacle. According to the site, Apple’s sapphire iPhone 5s home button cover costs about five times more than the plastic it replaces.
Apple is expected to unveil a completely redesigned full-size iPad as well as a brand new iPad mini tablet sometime next month. The fifth-generation iPad will reportedly adopt the design identity of the iPad mini, and will be thinner, smaller and lighter as a result. The second-generation iPad mini is thought to be very similar to the current model, however it is expected to feature a new Retina display with the same resolution as Apple’s full-size iPad.
According to one report, both new iPads will be unveiled during a press conference on October 15th. Apple’s iOS 7.1 update will be shown off alongside the new tablets in October.