Apple's Field Trip event in late-March yielded a new standard 9.7-inch iPad alongside various education apps, but there was no action on the iPad Pro front, which was unsurprising.

Talk about the new Apple iPad Pro has been circulating for a while. Here we break down the rumours so you know what to expect from the new Apple iPad.

New Apple iPad Pro release date

  • Possible October update event

The last Apple iPad Pro 10.5 was announced at the company's developer conference, WWDC, in June 2017, along with a spec-updated iPad Pro 12.9WWDC 2018 yielded no hardware updates.

Apple held an event on 12 September to announce new iPhone models, as well as the launch date for iOS 12, but the iPad wasn't mentioned at this event at all - so currently there's nothing on the horizon. In past years, Apple has thrown an event in October.

Filipe Esposito of iHelpBR in Brazil found mention in 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, although could be the standard iPad already announced.

There has also been a "iPad2018Fall" description appear in a code string within the beta build of iOS 12.1 however, suggesting a new iPad is coming this Fall, which would tie in with an October event.

New Apple iPad Pro design

  • Slimmer bezels a possibility, especially for larger device 
  • Premium aluminium build likely to remain
  • 3.5mm headphone socket might be removed

For the iPhone X Apple ditched Touch ID and the home button in favour of Face ID. On the design front, this meant that Apple could remove the button and fill that space with screen instead and it looks like that might also happen on the new iPad.

Apple reduced the iPad Pro 10.5's bezels by 40 per cent over the iPad Pro 9.7, meaning it is a similar body size but with a 20 per cent 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. Rumour has it that the company is considering ditching the Touch ID home button on the new iPad Pro as we mentioned, replacing it with the Face ID system that launched on the iPhone X.

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. 

When it comes to the body design itself, concept renders from a reliable source suggest a squared metal design. We doubt that Apple would use glass because of the potential for breaks and the weight compared to aluminium on a larger device like this. While the display in this video is off, you can just about make out narrow bezels - and no home button.

We'd expect the Smart Connector to remain intact, as well as the four-speaker array, though it has been claimed that the Smart Connector may reposition from the side to the bottom. The video above has it on the rear. While we aren't convinced this will be the case, we do expect the removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack in favour of Lightning and Bluetooth-only audio for the next iPad Pro models, something Japanese blog Macotakara also suggests.

According to an early September 2018 report from analyst Mi-Chin Kuo, Apple could swap the Lightning connector for a USB-C port. We think this is unlikely, although the iPad Pro could introduce a USB-C charger which would be able to fast charge the iPad Pro via a USB-C to Lightning cable. 

New 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 slotting 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.

New Apple iPad Pro cameras

  • Face ID predicted for next iPad Pro models

The biggest change to the front camera is likely to be the adoption of the iPhone X's Face ID setup and Animoji and Memoji feature, the latter of which was hinted at in the beta build of iOS 12.1 found by 9to5Mac that talked about the "iPad2018Fall". The codestring mentioned Memoji syncing support, allowing users to sync personal emoji across devices including iPad. Currently no iPad offers Memoji support so it's a big hint the new model will.

Another big giveaway that Face ID is coming to the iPad is a new Face ID and Passcode settings menu in iOS 12 for iPad, where you can set up Face ID and choose which features you want to use it to unlock. 

Beyond Face ID support, we're lacking in information about the cameras in particular. The current iPad Pro models have a 12-megapixel rear camera with an f/1.8 aperture, optical image stabilisation and a Quad-LED True Tone flash, while the front camera is 7-megapixels. We can't see this arrangement changing.

New Apple iPad Pro hardware

  • A11 or A12 Bionic chip expected 
  • Storage 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. That may change, of course, following the update to the iPhone, which will likely debut new hardware.

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 and we'd expect Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi and Cellular models of the new iPad Pro.

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. It's not yet clear if it will move position.

We are expecting to see the 3.5mm headphone jack disappear though, as we mentioned above, but if this does happen as it has on the iPhones, it is likely Apple will include an adapter in the box.

New iPad Pro software

  • iOS 12

The next iPad Pro will almost certainly launch on iOS 12. It is available for current iPhones and iPads now so it's a given that any new devices would launch on it.

There were plenty of great features released specifically enhancing iPad functionality when iOS 11 was released, including a Files app for bringing all your files together, a Dock for opening and switching between apps instantly, as well as better multitasking capabilities and more features arrive with iOS 12 to further enhance the user experience.

Bloomberg reports that Apple also plans to bring Animoji to the iPad, which would make sense given the rumours for FaceID and the Memoji mention in the codestring we highlighted above.