Touch ID: iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3 release date points to fingerprint

Apple’s iPad lineup is still missing the company’s TouchID fingerprint sensor password technology, a full half a year after it debuted on the iPhone 5S. With the release date for the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 approaching, users are now left to ask which iPad models will gain the Touch ID technology, even as Apple works on its next generation iPhone as well. Apple has been careful to make sure that the iPad Air retains at least some features missing on the iPad mini, in order to steer power-users toward the higher priced, higher margin Air. But with the iPad mini now making up the majority of iPad sales, can Apple afford to hold back?

The likely release date for the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 is October of 2014, as Apple has settled into an annual pattern of releasing new tablets each fall after having originally launched the iPad in the spring. But while that target date is still a ways off, Apple must order components and put factories on alert well in advance, which typically leads to at least some details leaking out, giving users a partial but always incomplete view of what Apple is about to introduce next. iPhone 5S sales have far outpaced sales of the cheaper iPhone 5C, and the Touch ID built into the iPhone 5S may be one of the reasons for that sales disparity. This points to Apple being about to use the fingerprint technology to drive iPad sales as well. The only question is whether it’ll arrive simultaneously on all iPads or on just the Air first.

One thing is certain: when the release date for the new iPads arrives, they won’t be called iPad Air 2 or iPad mini 3. Apple has dispensed with numerical suffixes for its iPads, simply sticking to their two word brand name even when going from one generation to the next.