The One Thing Nobody Told You About The iPad Pro 10.5: Where To Find Its True Tone Sensors

By on Jul 27, 2017 in Mobility Strategy | 0 comments

David Phelan

Apple iPad Pro 10.5 with its ultra discreet True Tone sensors

‘The One Thing Nobody Told You…’ is my occasional column touching on a tangential, but interesting, detail that has been lost or under-reported in the news. Sometimes it’s a ground-breaker, sometimes just a piece of trivia that might enliven a dinner party conversation…

I’ll be honest with you, I’ve been on a mission. Since the second iPad Pro was launched in March 2016, the one with the 9.7in display, and Apple revealed that it was using something called a True Tone display, I wanted to know more.

Back then, I noted that the new iPad Pro had an enhancement over any other Apple tablet. This thing called True Tone display used sensors that measured ambient light colours. It then adjusted the colour output so that everything looked exactly as it’s meant to, compensating precisely whether you’re outside in bright sunshine or a dimly lit room.

The idea was that a number of four-channel ambient light sensors monitored the temperature of the surroundings and adjusted the output onscreen. This meant that whatever you were reading on screen should look more natural.

I tried it in different situations and the effect ranged from subtle to garish. In every case, though, turning True Tone off revealed that it looked more natural with it turned on again. Switch it off and you saw that the tablet screen looked surprisingly blue in most lighting situations. True Tone was quiet, but revelatory. Not as extreme as the effect that Night Shift had, where cold tablet light was warmed through to make the screen more palatable at night, but still delicately effective.

But where were these sensors? After all, they had to be able to see the lighting situation so surely they were visible? I had to dig deep just to find how many there were – there are two, it turns out.

I asked around, repeatedly, about  where precisely they were on the iPad. At the edge of the bezel, perhaps? I mean, I really went on about it. I bothered every person with any knowledge of Apple that I could.

I was eventually told they were on the front of the display, in the bezel. If I looked carefully, I could just see them by tipping the iPad Pro up in exactly the right light. Oh, and I was warned to not even bother looking if I had an iPad Pro with a white front. The only chance of seeing them was on the space gray model with its black bezel.

This was driving me nuts.

But finally, I found them, and if you’re going crazy looking for them on your iPad Pro now I’ve mentioned this, then here’s the answer. Remember, True Tone sensors are not on the original 12.9in model, but on every other iPad Pro.

David Phelan

Look closely at the bezel and you can see two sensors, one above and just to the left of the Messages icon and on the right above the Bluetooth icon.

The sensors lie in exactly – I mean EXACTLY – the same horizontal line as the front-facing camera lens. That’s your first clue.

But while the lens sits plumb in the center, the sensors sit nearly at the edges. On the 10.5in iPad Pro they sit about a pinky’s width from the edge of the display.

David Phelan

The white-fronted iPad Pro with its really-impossible-to-see True Tone sensors

To see them, you need to have a bright light source behind you and to be able to jiggle the tablet just so, to catch the light. And, again, with the white-fronted tablet? Fuhgeddaboutit.

David Phelan

That corner again, with the hidden sensor circled

I’ve done my best to photograph the sensor, though it’s a bit like trying to snap the perfect whale-watching photo.

So was it worth it, conquering this eccentric obsession of mine? You bet. The sense of satisfaction at knowing exactly where to find this tiny component with its slightly magical powers was immense.

I hope you’ll feel the same when you discover the sensors for yourself.

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