Apple have recently filed a new patent that shows a dedicated Emoji key on a Smart Keyboard for the iPad Pro.
In addition to the dedicated Emoji key, there’s also a search button that can be used to trigger Siri and also a share button. With the patent filing, it could indicate that Apple is considering these options for the next iPad Pro Smart Keyboard.
Hitting the share button appears to bring up a sharing screen on the iPad Pro with the usual options to publish to Facebook, Twitter, Email, and a variety of other apps. There is no similar description assigned to how the Emoji button would work, but presumably it would function in a similar manner and display an Emoji overlay on the iPad Pro.
There is already a globe button on the current Smart Keyboard that can be used to access the Emoji menu, but on the patent drawings this is replaced with a Fn key.
The third addition to the new Smart Keyboard is a new dedicated search button that is shown with a magnifying glass. It is described as being a multi-functional button that can be single pressed to access a search menu, and double-tapped or even held to invoke Siri. It could also be possible that Apple could allow mappings to quick-launch certain apps using the key also.
The “Share” key is located where the right-side Command and Option keys would normally be, while the “Emoji” key is included in lieu of Caps Lock, which is an essential key.
Presumably the new Smart Keyboard would accompany the new iPad Pro that is expected towards the end of 2017 due to various suspected delays with production of the processor.