Here we round up all the speculation surrounding the next iPad Pro, together with some of our own thoughts about what super Apple tablet we might get during the latter half of 2018.
Next Apple iPad: Release date
- New iPad Pros not expected until summer 2018
The Apple iPad Pro 10.5 was announced at the company's developer conference, WWDC, in June 2017, along with a spec-updated iPad Pro 12.9. It is therefore likely we'll see any update to those models at the same time this year.
Apple's 2018 developer conference - WWDC 2018 - will take place at the beginning of June.
Filipe Esposito of iHelpBR in Brazil has found mention in the new iOS 11.3 of a "Modern iPad". The iPhone X was referred to as "Modern iPhone" in earlier beta versions of iOS, so the finding is significant. Could that be the standard-size iPad that has already been announced, though?
Next Apple iPad Pro: Design
- Slimmer bezels a possibility, especially for larger device
- Premium, slim build likely to remain
- Will the headphone jack stay or go?
Last September's iPhone X model ditched Touch ID and the home button in favour of Face ID. This will surely mean the next iPad Pro will also have Face ID. And why not? Could it have Qi-compatib;e wireless charging, too?
Apple reduced the iPad Pro 10.5's bezels by 40 percent compared to the iPad Pro 9.7, meaning it is a very similar size to the smaller-screened model but with a 20 percent larger display.
It wouldn't surprise us to see Apple do the same for the 12.9-inch model, if there is a new version. But could Apple take things a stage further still?
As we mentioned, rumour has it the company is considering ditching the Touch ID home button on the new iPad Pro, replacing it with the Face ID system that launched on the iPhone X. Bloomberg reported that Apple plans to bring Animoji to the iPad as well.
Bezels are generally considered useful when it comes to physically holding a tablet, but there is no denying the slim-bezel renders that have appeared certainly do make for a more striking design. Although we're not expecting an iPhone X-style notch.
We'd expect the Smart Connector to remain intact however as well as the four-speaker array. But a removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack in favour of Lightning and Bluetooth-only audio is something we fully expect to happen for the next iPad Pro models.
Next Apple iPad Pro: Display
- 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch models expected
- 12.9-inch model could come with smaller footprint
- 120Hz refresh rate likely on both
The Apple iPad Pro is currently available in a 10.5-inch model and a 12.9-inch model, with the smaller model replacing the original 9.7-inch model that kickstarted the Pro line.
According to Bloomberg, the next iPad Pro model will offer a "similar" screen size as the 10.5-inch model, though the 12.9-inch model wasn't mentioned. If it does appear, we'd expect the same size slot into a smaller footprint.
Could Apple will switch to OLED like the iPhone X or stick with LCD ? The latter is expected due to "technical and financial constraints" - the latter factor being particularly crucial for larger OLED displays.
No doubt True Tone technology, adapting the colour and intensity of the display to match your environment, and the P3 wide colour gamut will both be on board, along with Apple Pencil compatibility and an anti-reflective coating.
In terms of resolution, the current iPad Pro 10.5 features a 2224 x 1668 resolution, while the iPad Pro 12.9 has a 2732 x 2048 resolution.
Both result in a pixel density of 264ppi. It is not yet clear whether Apple will increase the resolution but both will likely support a 120Hz refresh rate as the current iPad Pro 10.5 does.
Next Apple iPad Pro: Cameras
- Face ID predicted for next iPad Pro models
- Improvements in camera likely
Beyond Face ID support, we're a bit lacking in information about the cameras in particular. The current iPad Pro models have a 12-megapixel rear camera with a f/1.8 aperture, optical image stabilisation and a Quad-LED True Tone flash, while the front camera is 7-megapixels.
The iPhone X also has a 7-megapixel front sensor but it adds Face ID technology, as well as Animoji so should facial recognition come to the iPad Pros, we'd except the same resolution sensor as the current iPad Pro models but with the upgrades like the iPhone X.
Next Apple iPad Pro: Hardware
- A11 Bionic chip expected
- Storage models likely to remain same
- Four-speaker audio and Smart Connector expected
The current iPad Pros feature the A10X Fusion chip with 64-bit architecture and an embedded M10 coprocessor. The iPhone X features the A11 Bionic chip with neural engine and embedded M11 coprocessor so we'd expect this new processor to make its way onto the new iPad Pros next year.
Current storage options of the iPad Pro devices sit at 64GB, 256GB and 512GB, none of which offer microSD support for storage expansion. We'd expect the storage options to remain the same as they only changed this year and we'd also expect Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi and Cellular models of the new iPad Pros, as is the case at the moment.
As we mentioned in the design section above, the current iPad Pros come with four-speaker audio, which we expect to see on the new models. There is also the Smart Connector on the rear, used for connecting the Smart Keyboard, which we also expect on the new models.
We wouldn't be surprised to see the 3.5mm headphone jack disappear though, but if this does happen, as it has on the iPhones, it is likely Apple will include an adapter in the box.
Next Apple iPad Pro: Software
- iOS 11
- Will see an upgrade to iOS 12 when arrives later in 2018
The next iPad Pros will launch on iOS 11, which is Apple's latest software build. The company usually announces the next software build at its developer conference in the middle of the year, which in 2018's case will be iOS 12, but it doesn't release the software until a few months later in September.
There were plenty of great features released specifically enhancing iPad functionality when iOS 11 was released though, including a new Files app for bringing all your files together, a new Dock for opening and switching between apps instantly, as well as better multitasking capabilities.
All these features will appear on the new iPad Pros, along with any new features announced for iOS 12. If the new iPad Pros are announced at WWDC 2018, we should know what those new features will be at the same time but we won't benefit from them a few months after the new iPads go on sale.