With invites to a rumored October product release going out possibly this week, leaks and renders of would-be Apple products have been leaking in droves. Most of them have pertained to the soon-to-be overhauled iPad Pro, making it the frontrunner for a device update before the end of the year.
Two hardware rumors and a confirmed software update have given fans of the premium tablets a clear picture of the next generation of iPad devices. All signs have pointed to an iPad Pro with a Face ID feature, a new Apple Pencil, a slender redesign, and the ability to output 4K HDR content.
These early rumors have been borne out by subsequent leaks. But not all of the new iPad updates are guaranteed to be crowdpleasers.
New iPad Pro (2018): Release date and price
Quite often with Apple products, we can point to certain times of the year when it likes to refresh its products – but there’s no real pattern with the iPad Pro. Here’s how Apple has scheduled the releases thus far:
- Original iPad Pro 12.9-inch − November 2015
- iPad Pro 9.7-inch − March 2016
- iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2nd-gen) and iPad Pro 10.5-inch − June 2017
With the September Apple event now in the past, all eyes will turn to October and November 2018 for a potential new iPad Pro launch, with a 2018 Mac Mini update and new MacBook Air also thought to be on the cards.
Considering the firm received authorisation as far back as July to sell two unannounced iOS 12-powered iPad models in Russia, it looks highly likely that a refreshed iPad Pro will release this year.
The iPad Pro is around the price of the regular edition 9.7-inch iPad, and that’s before you fork out for an Apple Pencil accessory. The 10.5-inch model starts at $649/£619 while the 12.9-inch edition begins at $799/£769.
In all likelihood, Apple will maintain the prices for the rumoured 2018 edition, but it could even raise them if the tablet is treated to a significant redesign and gains Face ID tech.
New iPad Pro (2018): Specs, screen and design rumours
According to a new report from 9to5Mac that cites “sources familiar with the development” of the 2018 iPad Pro, the tablet will feature Face ID, but won’t have a home button or a notch.
Instead, the sources say, the 2018 iPad Pro will have a near edge-to-edge display and slimmed-down bezels that are still wide enough to house camera system that Face ID − which will work both in portrait and landscape modes − is reliant on.
And a pair of leaked images picked up by Slashleaks shows off a very similar-looking device, which could apparently have a super-slim 5.9mm profile.
The 2018 iPad Pro is also said to feature the most powerful mobile processor Apple has ever placed in an iOS device. The A12X processor is apparently codenamed Vortex, and is claimed to be more powerful than the Apple A12 Bionic that can be found in the new iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. It will also include a more powerful A12X GPU.
There will reportedly be a pair of Wi-Fi models in two different size options, and a pair of LTE models in two different sizes.
Apple seems to have settled on 12.9-inch and 10.5-inch panels as the optimum size for the iPad Pro, so we’d expect a pair of new models retaining those specs. However, it might be time for Apple to boost that resolution a little bit. The iPad Pro currently has a 265 pixels per inch with 2224 x 1668 (10.5-inch) and 2732 x 2048 (12.9-inch).
Given the company is going all-in on 4K content through the iTunes Store, might it consider a full 4K panel, supporting HDR? High on the request list for iPad Pro fans might be an OLED screen, but given the potential impact on the price, as well as the current shortage, we’d say this might be a long shot.
The 2018 iPad Pro will reportedly feature a rear-mounted Magnetic Connector for different accessories, as well as a USB-C port, and the ability to output 4K HDR video to external displays.
It’s claimed to support a new Apple Pencil too (more on this further down the page), though there’s no word yet on whether or not Apple’s existing stylus will work with the new 2018 iPad Pro.
Cameras haven’t always been the focus of the iPad Pro range, but given Apple is going all-in on AR, there’s a chance the company boosts the real-world imagery iPad Pro users can see through the viewfinder. The last iPad Pro releases included a 12-megapixel rear-facing camera with a 7-megapixel selfie-cam. Perhaps there’ll be a modest update here.
Apple Pencil 2 rumours
The iPad Pro 2018 is rumoured to be arriving alongside an Apple Pencil 2, a second generation of the highly advanced pressure-sensitive stylus designed with artists and creatives in mind. Recent rumours have suggested the new Pencil will be easier to attach to the iPad (perhaps via a magnetic clip), while patent filings have revealed Apple’s work on a new tip and the addition of an eraser.
New iPad Pro (2018): Concept renders
Fans have stepped in with their own ideas about the direction the next iPad Pro should take, giving us a taste of what official press renders of the upcoming device might look like.
As you can see, the traditional Home button has gone to the digital bone orchard – almost certainly to be replaced by Apple’s Face ID tech – and there’s no 3.5mm headphone jack either, which shouldn’t really come as a surprise given Apple started shuttering it back in 2016 with the iPhone 7.
The images are accompanied by a 360-degree video, which you can watch below, allegedly showing off a new 12-inch iPad Pro. It’s expected to be joined a smaller 11-inch model to complete Apple’s 2018 iPad Pro refresh.