With its modest tweaking of the iPad lineup back in March, Apple threw cold water on what had been a roaring fire of rumor and anticipation. Now that the smoke has cleared, our expectations are again rising on the hope of a more dramatic upgrade with the forthcoming iPad Pro 2. And, according to new rumors, that new iPad could materialize in a just a few weeks. More on that below.
The new iPad is more or less identical to the iPad Air 1 (which debuted back in October 2014), though it comes equipped with a faster processor (the A9) and, significantly, the lowest price ever for an iPad. The new 32GB WiFi iPad costs $329 (£339 or AU$469) — $70 less than the iPad Air 2 it replaces. The 4G LTE model starts at $459, £469 or AU$669.
The consensus among analysts and supply chain sources is that Apple held the most compelling new features back, saving them up for a new Pro model. Here’s some of what we could see when the next iPad makes its debut:
Specs we might see on the iPad Pro 2:
- Multiple new models in a variety of sizes including a new 10.5-inch form factor
- Magnetic Apple Pencil
- A10X processor
- Smart connector
- Four speakers
- 12-megapixel iSight camera with True Tone Flash
- Significantly thinner bezel
- True Tone displays
- 3.5mm headphone jack
When will Apple announce the iPad Pro 2?
According to a new report published by veteran analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via MacRumors), there is a strong likelihood that Apple will announce a new iPad Pro at the company’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference in San Jose, CA, in June.
How many new iPads could we see?
The buzz is that Apple plans to introduce a new Pro form factor — most likely a 10.5-inch model — and perhaps also update several existing models. Japanese blog Mac Otakara and others have suggested that Apple will eventually refresh the iPad Mini 4, which received just a storage bump during the most recent March refresh, and the original iPad Pro.
Will it be a Mini, Pro — or something else entirely?
Apple has heavily promoted its “Pro” products in recent months, and, in the wake of unveiling the least expensive iPad ever, we’re expecting the company to release a premium iPad Pro model next. At the company’s March shareholder meeting in Cupertino, CEO Tim Cook noted the importance of the company’s professional users and reiterated that Apple is focused on developing more Pro products in the future. (Apple also released two new iPad Pro ads on Twitter in March.)
Spotlight on a 10.5-inch iPad
A Forbes interview with an IHS Markit analyst gives credence to the 10.5-inch iPad Pro theory, pointing out that by reducing the bezel, Apple could put a larger display in today’s 9.7-inch iPad footprint, which would ensure seamless compatibility with the Smart Keyboard (and other existing accessories). Of course, Apple hasn’t shown itself to be overly concerned with hastening the obsolescence of accessories in the past.
Lots of other folks have backed the 10.5-inch iPad story. Accessories manufacturer Studio Neat published a compelling analysis of why Apple might introduce such a model (see GIF below). And veteran Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo earlier reported a variation of this rumor, suggesting that that Apple would unveil a new 10.5-inch iPad Pro targeted to the business and education markets.
How much will the new iPads cost?
Prior to the launch of the new iPad, an IHS Markit analyst told Forbes that Apple might introduce a new entry-level iPad that sold for under $300. In retrospect, this may have foretold the new $329 iPad. It’s hard to fathom that Apple would launch an even less expensive model.
Will Apple change the iPad’s display?
Ming-Chi Kuo has predicted that Apple will hold back its most dramatic iPad redesign, possibly equipped with a flexible AMOLED display, until 2018. In 2017, we’re more likely to see an iPad Pro with an ultrathin bezel that, despite a larger display, would give it a compact footprint similar to the current 9.7-inch iPad Pro.
According to reports, the new iPad’s top bezel would be preserved in order to accommodate a front-facing FaceTime camera, but the bottom bezel could be narrowed or even eliminated if Apple decided to do away with the home button — a possibility raised by several sources. (Note that during the run up to the iPhone 7 announcement, there was much speculation about the possible disappearance of its physical home button. That rumor did not pan out.)
Will we see a new Apple Pencil?
Apple Insider and others report that Apple is working on a followup to its stylus, the Apple Pencil, to coincide with the debut of the next iPad. Provisionally called the Apple Pencil 2, the updated accessory is rumored to attach magnetically to an iPad, like the Smart Cover. And, in a particularly innovative twist, the Apple Pencil 2 is said to come equipped with a pen clip for safe placement in a pocket.
Which processor will power the next iPad?
Apple is reportedly working on a more-powerful processor for the iPad Pro 2. According to Dutch tech blog Techtastic, this new chip would be the successor to the A9X that comes with both versions of the iPad Pro. If that’s accurate, a beefed-up version of the A10 that currently powers the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, presumably called the A10X, would be featured in the next iPad Pro models. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has posited that Apple might reuse the A9X for a new, less-expensive iPad model.
We’ll continue to track the iPad rumors here. This story was last updated May 16, 2017.
Scroll down for a reverse-chronological look at the latest rumors.
May 13, 2017
Ming-Chi Kuo expects to see previews of the next versions of iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS as well as hardware-related announcements
March 21, 2017
Apple quietly upgrades its iPad with a more powerful chip and brighter display, while knocking off $70 from the iPad Air 2’s price.
March 13, 2017
Several new iPad models have been spotted being tested in Cupertino and nearby locations, potentially confirming earlier rumors of a planned iPad refresh arriving this spring.
February 24, 2017
A new iPad Pro is expected to find a happy medium between the standard-sized iPad Pro and the largest model.
February 9, 2017
Just weeks before Apple is rumored to launch a trio of new iPads, 12.9-inch iPad Pro stock is drying up around the world.
January 19, 2017
New iPads are coming in the second half of 2017.
December 23, 2016
TSMC is scheduled to start making Apple’s A10X chips for the next-generation iPad series slated for launch in March 2017. Unsatisfactory yields for the foundry’s 10nm process could disrupt the schedule, supply chain sources indicated.
November 28, 2016
Apple is rumored to release new iPads in the spring, and a Japanese report claims they will be nearly bezel-less.
October 15, 2016
Apple’s rumored upcoming A10X chip could make its predecessor look decidedly weak in comparison. Could this chip appear in the next iPad Pro?
October 3, 2016
After Apple released a smaller iPad Pro earlier this year, there is speculation that it will roll out three new models in the spring of 2017.
September 7, 2016
Today was iPhone and Apple Watch day. But there’s more coming up on Apple’s slate.
September 7, 2016
Apple just made its iPads more attractive by bumping the minimum storage of the Air 2, Mini 4 and Mini 2, while dropping the prices of their more capacious brethren, and cutting a C-note off the price of both sizes of iPad Pro, too.
August 18, 2016
Twitter wants to live stream on your Apple TV, 5G networks could be coming sooner than expected, and new iPhone 7 and iPad rumors.
August 15, 2016
The future is abundant with iPads, according to a new industry analyst report.