There was a lot of speculation about how accurate and reliable Face ID would be before iPhone X was released last year. These questions were answered quickly, like Apple's TrueDepth cameras, Secure Enclave and software combined to make face detection easy to set up and even easier to use with a smartphone. After a year of success, there was little doubt that Face ID would work when it came to iPad Pro. The question was whether it could give the added flexibility needed to work well on a platform that is not centered around a single task or orientation.
The early rumors that Face ID would be locked to portrait orientation, as it is currently on the iPhone, was annoying. In retrospect, it appears that they were only suspicions based on hardware leakage that showed the new Smart Connector moved to the back of iPad Pro. Hardware leaks were legitimate, but leakers and a few tech journalists took them out of context and assumed that the new Smart Keyboard would work as the current and keep iPad in portrait. Looking back, we can see how far the abyss this presumption was. But that's how the rumors are playing these days.
The reality is that Face ID works very well on the new iPad Pros, no matter what you have or how to use it. Portrait or landscape, docked in a case or Smart Keyboard Folio or in hand, relieves iPad Pro quickly and easily. The only time I have to wait for it is when I accidentally have my fingers blocking the TrueDepth camera. If so, the Pro gives your message so that you can move your hand and let it do its job.
I have never purchased in pre-announcement rumors that Face ID would be limited because you locked the portrait mode feature would have prevented multitasking improvements that Apple gave us last year in iOS 11. I've seen Apple do something scratch moved, but that's just no way they would have cracked iPad Pro like that. Nevertheless, I was curious how effective Face ID would be on a device that is used very differently than a phone. I've spent over two weeks with both the 11 "and 12.9" models, and Apple has passed this test with flying colors.
I usually use my 12.9 "iPad Pro with a Smart Keyboard Folio, so it's usually in landscape orientation. Also, because I hold it in my lap, I use it far more than I use my iPhone. Again, unless i have a finger in the way of the camera, Face ID opens my iPad quickly and without fuss.
It's even more rare to get a message that the iPad is for far away for Face ID to recognize me. This is a big plus in my book.
Like for 11 "Pro, I usually use it as a digital notebook. I love using this iPad for recordings and other basic tasks. It has become more a work-support unit for me for project management, meeting notes, and estimates while I use 12.9 as a "home computer" and my primary writing device. The way I'm using 11 ", it's usually in my hands and is more often in portrait than landscape. Again, no issues with Face ID.
Face ID had some big shoes to fill on iPad Pro. While TouchID might be on its way out, at least when it comes to Apple's mobile devices, it was still easy to use, fast and very solid. While Apple managed to deliver good face detection on the iPhone, iPad Pro is a completely different device and, in my opinion, it's a challenge Apple got the job done. No matter what new iPad Pro I use it or how I use it, Face ID sticks to the old Apple motto – "It just works." We can not tell you about everything the company is doing these days, but I really appreciate it when things do.