There are rumors of a couple of new features that are coming to the iPad over the next two years. One of them is a software feature I’ve wanted for a few years. The other is a hardware feature that could be a new step forward for Apple’s tablets.
According to an article from AppleInsider, Apple has a patent filing related to research on making multiple user accounts work with the Secure User Enclave on their devices. This is the big step that is necessary to get such a feature to work on their portable mobile devices. It could also indicate that they are finally moving toward offering multiple user accounts on the iPad in the near future.
While iPadOS is technically capable of multiple user accounts, the current implementation only works with a special remote server. Apple first rolled this feature out for iPads used in education several years ago. They just added a version of the same feature for iPads used in enterprise environments earlier this year. However, while this implementation of multi-user works, it’s very limited in its scope.
The new research that AppleInsider reported on points to a far more practical application of multi-user support. The kind that families can use on iPads that are shared between themselves and their kids. This would also be handy for use in smaller businesses that don’t have the budget or time to fool with rolling out a server just to make separate user accounts work. The bottom line is, multi-user support is a feature that competing platforms have and that the iPad still lacks. Hopefully this patent and the research behind it indicate that Apple is finally getting serious about closing this gap.
New software features aren’t the only thing Apple is rumored to be adding to the iPad in the near future. According to UDN (via iMore), Apple has awarded a contract to TSMC to produce a new 3 nanometer version of the M-series chips for use in 2022. This should represent another step forward for Apple from the 5 nanometer M1.
But that’s not all that UDN and iMore are talking about. It seems that Apple also has plans to transition the iPad to their new M-series processors. That has been expected by some, but it is good to see this news starting to show up in the rumor mill. If it continues to come up in supply chain rumors, then the reports should prove to be accurate.
This would make sense. Apple has made the iPad, especially the iPad Pro, a powerhouse with their A-series processors. The integration of processor, hardware and software that they pioneered here created the mold that brought the M1 to the Mac. Moving the iPad platform to the M-Series, which has proven to be quite formidable in its first generation, seems like a logical next step. Based on the performance benchmarks from the new MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and Mac Mini, I’m really excited to see what a 3nm M processor can do in an Apple tablet.
Multi-user support and M-series processors may not be Earth-shattering upgrades for the iPad, but they will definitely be welcomed additions that add a little more usability and power to the mix. Combine them with the features that are already rumored for 2021, such as new Mini-LED screens, and you can see that Apple isn’t done moving the iPad forward.