In November 2015, Apple unveiled the iPad Pro — a super-size variant of the company’s flagship tablet tricked out with a speedy processor, new tricks like split-screen multitasking, and a 12.9-inch display. The Pro model debuted alongside two new accessories — Apple’s Pencil stylus, an accessory optimized for detailed graphics work, and a magnetically attached Smart Keyboard that doubles as a cover. (Neither come included.)
Still, the pricey iPad Pro got just a lukewarm reception. Last year, Apple introduced a less-expensive 9.7-inch version, which combined many of its larger sibling’s virtues with a higher-quality camera and a smaller footprint to produce a near-perfect balance of power and portability. Though well-received by designers and media professionals, it too failed to inspire the broad embrace of its non-Pro predecessors. Meanwhile, Microsoft was releasing innovative, popular products like the Surface Book and Surface Pro 4, as iPad sales sagged.
So — as with all things Apple — there’s a lot riding on what’s coming next. Expectations are inflating. Gossip is bubbling. And the company remains as silent as ever. The most current rumors about the iPad Pro 2 include:
Specs we might see on the next iPad
- Three models in a variety of sizes including 7.9-inch (diagonal), 12.9-inch and a 10.5-inch or 10.9-inch
- New, magnetic Apple Pencil
- A10X processor
- Smart connector
- Four speakers
- 12-megapixel iSight camera with True Tone Flash
- Significantly reduced bezel
- True Tone displays
- 3.5mm headphone jack (ah, the nostalgia…)
When will the next iPad be released?
The most optimistic forecast calls for new iPads coming next month; this would coincide with the anniversary of the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, which hit shelves last March. MacRumors’ analysis of global inventory has detected a recent increase in shipping times — a potential signal that the company is running out of older stock as it readies distribution for the influx of next generation models. That noted, other factors could be at play. A recent report by DigiTimes points to a debut in the second half of 2017.
Will the next iPad be a Mini, a Pro, an Air — or something else entirely?
Officially, nothing is certain about the next generation of the iPad portfolio. Variables that remain up in the air include the number of new models; how big or small they may be; and whether they will fall into the Air, Mini, Pro — or some other grouping. It wouldn’t be terribly surprising for Apple to consolidate the portfolio, given the current untidiness of its three distinct but overlapping iPad product lines, into one entry-level and one premium tier.
How will the next iPad measure up?
Today, the iPad comes in three sizes (measured by the diagonal length of the display): the 12.9-inch iPad Pro; the 9.7-inch iPad Pro and iPad Air 2; and the 7.9-inch iPad Mini 4 and iPad Mini 2. Multiple sources have reported that Apple will introduce three new iPads in 2017, but there’s no consensus on the measurements.
Japanese blog Macotakara and others have reported that Apple will release updates of the 7.9-inch iPad Mini 4 and original 12.9-inch Pro models — and introduce a new 10.9-inch iPad Pro. Accessories manufacturer Studio Neat published a compelling analysis of why Apple might introduce a 10.5-inch iPad, combining the resolution of the current 12.9-inch iPad Pro with the form factor of a 9.7-inch iPad Pro. And veteran Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has reported a variation of this rumor, suggesting that that Apple will unveil a new 10.5-inch iPad Pro targeted to the business and education markets.
Will Apple change the iPad’s display?
Kuo claims that Apple is holding back a dramatic redesign of the iPad, which could include a model with a flexible AMOLED display, for 2018 at the earliest. In 2017, we’re more likely to see an iPad 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 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.
Scroll down for a reverse-chronological look at the latest rumors.
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.