The iPad Pro started out as the only tablet in Apple’s lineup that supports the Apple Pencil.
That changed with the launch of the standard iPad, though. The entry-level model also supports the Apple Pencil, while the new iPad Pro upgraded to the second-generation Apple Pencil. Now, a new rumor suggests Apple may extend Apple Pencil support to additional iPad models. Developer Steve Troughton-Smith took to Twitter to hypothesize that maybe, just maybe, the oft-rumored iPad mini 5 may support the Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil.
Troughton-Smith points out that the model numbers J210/J211 and J217/J218 appear to support both Apple’s accessories. However, in a potentially interesting turn of events, he also suggests in the first tweet that it’s possible both tablet models (the new iPad mini 5 and the equally as often rumored new entry-level iPad with thinner bezels) don’t feature Touch ID or Face ID. Troughton-Smith adds that he finds it hard to believe Apple would ship either model without any sort of biometric security measure, though.
It's hard to glean much information about J210/J211, and J217/J218, the upcoming iPad models. It seems like both iPad sizes support a Smart Keyboard and Pencil, but it's possible that neither include Touch ID (nor Face ID). Hard to imagine Apple shipping sans TouchID unless for $
— Steve Troughton-Smith (@stroughtonsmith) January 29, 2019
As noted in the follow-up tweets, Troughton-Smith says that it’s looking more likely that Apple will indeed include Touch ID. That would line up with earlier rumors regarding both new tablets, as far as design is concerned. It’s expected that the iPad mini 5 will look quite a bit similar to the iPad mini 4, and that while the new entry-level iPad may reduce bezel size a bit, not nearly as much as the new iPad Pro.
So, we could see some exciting things out of the less expensive iPad models later this year. On a person note, an iPad mini with Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil support –with updated hardware– sounds about perfect. Let’s just hope the price tag isn’t too high.