Apple may define the future of the iPad Pro at its Sept. 12 event.

screen-shot-2018-09-04-at-10-22-55-am
There’s buzz about a major redesign coming to the iPad Pro in 2018.

Steve Hemmerstoffer/OnLeaks

As we count down the minutes until Apple’s big Sept. 12 event, rumors new and old continue to make the rounds.

Today, Macrumors brings us a new research note from Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo with predictions about the rumored iPad Pro that could debut later this week at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California — as well as new specifics about the three new iPhonesApple Watch, and MacBook Air rumored to be in the company’s imminent pipeline. Note that Kuo has a pretty good track record with this kind of thing, but that all of these predictions are unofficial. As usual, Apple did not immediately respond to our request for confirmation.

With regard to the iPad Pro, Kuo suggests that Apple has substituted a USB-C port for its own proprietary Lightning connector on this next generation — and that the tablet will come equipped with an 18-watt power adaptor instead of the 12-watt model currently bundled with the iPad Pro. If true, this would mark a dramatic shift for Apple, which has used the Lightning connector broadly across its hardware lineup since its introduction in 2012.

Shifting to a new power spec could help set the stage for a range of new Pro features. When the company debuted the latest iPadin March, adding Pencil support and a faster processor, it whittled down the gap between the entry-level tablet and its Pro siblings. Starting at $329 (£319 or AU$469), the base iPad now offers many of the premium features that were previously exclusive to the considerably more expensive 10.5-inch Pro and 12.9-inch Pro.

For the moment, those Pro models still retain exclusive rights to the superior Retina display and Smart Connector, which lets you add a snap-on keyboard. But a chorus of pundits and supply chain sources now suggest that Apple will look to redefine the iPad Pro line — and justify its higher price — with a big-time update before the end of 2018, and possibly as soon as Sept. 12.

Though Apple hasn’t announced anything officially — with the exception of the date of its next big event — there’s a huge amount of buzz about two new Pro models surfacing before the end of 2018. Here’s what we’ve heard so far.

Editors’ note, Sept. 10: This post was originally published on March 21, and will continue to be updated with news and rumors on the 2018 iPad lineup.

Rumor: Apple preparing two new iPad Pros 

Bloomberg reports that Apple is prepping two new tablets for 2018 — one that measures “around 11 inches,” which could be the rough equivalent of the current 10.5-inch model, and a 12.9-inch model. Previously, the publication had reported that Apple was working on at least one new iPad Pro, the 10.5-inch model.

Rumor: New iPad Pros coming this fall

When Apple failed to show any new hardware at its WWDC conference in June, speculation immediately shifted to the September-October timeframe as the next best opportunity for a debut. The company has now announced its next big event for Sept. 12 and it’s totally possible it could bring out a new iPad Pro alongside the three new iPhones we expect to see.

There are precedents: The iPad Mini 4, for instance, debuted in September 2015 alongside that year’s iPhones. Or it could happen a few weeks later — the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 were both introduced in a separate Mac and iPad event in October 2014. (Sure, November is also a possibility, but Apple has never debuted a new iPad in December.)

screen-shot-2018-03-20-at-3-29-19-pm
Concept renders of an iPad Pro.

Benjamin Geskin/Drop News

Rumor: Taking design cues from the iPhone X

Mac Otakara and 9to5Mac report that the forthcoming iPad Pros will benefit from a major redesign and integrate several new features that first appeared on the iPhone X last year. An iPad battery usage icon found in Apple’s iOS 12 beta suggests that the upcoming models will look quite a bit different — with no Home button, slimmer bezels, rounded corners and a bigger display. And the iPhone X’s rounded corners may also find their way onto the next iPad Pro, according to 9to5Mac.com.

screen-shot-2018-08-02-at-9-17-16-am
The old iPad icon (left) vs. the new iPad icon found in the iOS 12 beta.

9to5Mac

Rumor: Face ID 2.0 is coming

Notice that there’s no notch on those icons, however. This suggests that either the next iPad Pro won’t have the Face ID facial recognition system — or that Apple has figured out how to implement it sans notch.

A growing pile of (unofficial) evidence supports the latter. Bloomberg reports that Face ID will in fact find its way into future iPads — and that it will also be able to unlock the device even in landscape mode, something that the iPhone X can’t do today. So although the new iPad Pro is rumored to have a slimmer bezel, it may still be wide enough to accommodate the TrueDepth camera array that powers Face ID.

Rumor: Faster charging

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo’s most recent research note about Apple shifting to an 18-watt USB-C power adaptor bolsters previous reporting by DigiTimes. The current-generation Pro models currently support the 18-watt spec, which can reduce charging time by 50 percent, but Apple ships them today with a 10-12-watt adapter.

airpower
Apple’s AirPower wireless charging pad.

CNET

Don’t expect iPhone-style wireless charging, though. No one seriously expects the metallic rear panel in the iPad to go away, and that more or less prevents inductive charging.

Rumor: 3.5mm headphone jack going away

Mac Otakara reports that the forthcoming iPad Pro — at least the 10.5-inch model — will dispense with the traditional headphone jack in favor of Apple’s own Lightning Connector.

apple-ipad-pro-2017-026
Sarah Tew/CNET

Likely: Performance bumps 

The new entry-level iPad is powered by the 2016-era A10 processor, putting it just a half-step behind the iPad Pros, which run the A10X. But considering that the 2017 iPhones run the A11, and the presumed 2018 iPhones will have an A12, it only makes sense that newer iPad Pros would have an A11 or A11X, at the very least. Bloomberg suggested back in November that the next iPads would have faster processors and GPUs, which have become a key component of almost every upgrade cycle.

a11-bionic
The iPad may take cues from the iPhone X, inside and out.

CNET

Rumor: Probably no OLED display

One iPhone X feature that is unlikely to pop up in an iPad anytime in 2018 is an OLED display, according to Bloomberg. Not because Apple wouldn’t like to use them. It’s that suppliers simply don’t yet have the bandwidth to produce them at the size and cost in the massive numbers required to address Apple’s massive market. (That’s the same reason the laptops with OLED screens are still few and far between.)

Rumor: Peace out, iPad Mini

ipad2018-18
Benjamin Geskin/iDrop News

Speaking of iPhones: With September’s iPhone line rumored to include larger versions of the iPhone X — possibly a 6.5-inch model — it feels like the iPad Mini line just isn’t long for this world. Bloomberg reports that the Mini will not be refreshed  iPad refresh this year — and we have to wonder whether it will ever come.

Apart from a minor storage capacity upgrade in June 2017, the current Mini 4, with its 7.9-inch screen, hasn’t been updated since its introduction in 2015. But it’s more expensive than the 9.7-inch iPad because Apple sells only a 128GB version. Given that the new 9.7-incher delivers considerably more — i.e. a bigger screen, Pencil support and better performance — at a lower price, it’s hard to envision that much demand remains for the Mini.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here