(Pocket-lint) - Apple revealed the new iPad Pro line earlier this year and recently we had theiPad Air and a new entry-level 8th generation iPad.

Here's everything we have heard so far about the next-generation iPad Pro models which we expect to be launched in Spring 2021, a year on from the last refresh. 

Design

  • Same design expected

We're not expecting the new iPad Pro to undergo a full design change - it's more likely there will be beefed-up internals - see below - and a new display. Given that LiDAR tech appeared inside last year's model and that has only just come to the iPhone 12 series, we're not expecting a big change in the camera tech used. 

Display 

  • Mini-LED displays mentioned

There have been several reports suggesting Apple might adopt Mini-LED displays for some models of the next generation of iPads. We now believe this will come to the iPad Pro line in early 2021. 

Hardware

  • Upgraded version of the Apple A14 Bionic processor from latest iPad Air

The latest iPad Air comes with the A14 Bionic platform and we expect an upgraded version of that chip to come to the iPad Pro, perhaps as the A14X Bionic. 

It's likely there will be Wi-Fi and Cellular and Wi-Fi only options of both iPads but there may be a switch to supporting 5G as well as 4G - which is what we're expecting from the iPhone 12. We would expect a similar lineup in terms of storage models as the current models.

Software

  • iPadOS 14

iPadOS 14 was revealed in June and launched in September so this will feature on any new iPad Pro. Read more about it in our separate feature.

iPadOS 14 introduces a sidebar in apps so you can drag and drop files more easily, while there are also the same widgets that you can get in iOS 14. But it doesn't support App Library that we've seen in the new iPhone software. While iPadOS does support widgets, they're in a sidebar on the home screen rather than being able to be placed anywhere on the home screen as in iOS 14. 

Apple iPad Pro rumors: What's happened so far?

Here's everything we have heard so far about the next iPad models.

2 November 2020: Another Apple Event is on the way, but it looks like it's for the Mac

Apple has announced an event for 10 November, when it will presumably introduce the first Macs that run on Apple Silicon. There's a chance there might be an upgrade to the iPad Pro, but we think that will wait until the Spring.

15 September 2020: Apple refreshes some iPads 

The next generation of the iPad Air and entry-level iPad were revealed at Apple's Special Event alongside the Apple Watch Series 6 and SE. The iPad Air is basically an iPad Pro-lite, with the big difference being Touch ID - re-sited on the on/off/wake button - rather than Face ID which appears to be the preserve of the iPad Pro. 

26 August 2020: New iPad model numbers spotted

It looks very much like we're going to get a refresh of all non-Pro iPads - A2270, A2072, A2316, A2324, A2325, A2428, A2429. That looks very much like a refreshing and re-aligning of the complete lineup with the possible exception of the iPad mini. The model numbers were spotted on the EEC database where devices are ratified for sale in Russia and other countries. 

26 June 2020: iPadOS 14 brings keyboard, mouse and trackpad support for games

Also announced during Apple's developer conference was the ability for game developers to support the iPad's trackpad and keyboard (as well as mouse control) in future titles. Additional gamepads will also be supported including the Xbox One Elite 2 Wireless Controller and the accessible Xbox Adaptive Controller.

22 June 2020: iPadOS 14 announced

Like iOS 14, the new version of iPadOS was announced at Apple's developer conference and has data-rich widgets and other enhancements. But iPadOS goes further than iOS and many apps now have a sidebar so you can drag and drop more easily - for example in Music and Files.

Many apps also have a new Tools menu at the top of the screen to free up space at the bottom. And also in iOS and iPad OS incoming call notifications no longer take up the whole screen so you can easily dismiss them if you're working on something else. 

4 June 2020: Early 2021 iPad Pro expected to come with 5G and MiniLED displays

The MiniLED display rumour has been around for a while, but this report is a little different in that it says the 2021 iPad Pro will boast the Qualcomm X55 modem for 5G cellular connectivity instead of 4G LTE. They will also have a new A14X processor, which isn't a big leap to surmise. 

15 May 2020: Upgrades to iPad Air and mini expected in late 2020 or early 2021

TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggests there will be a new 10.8-inch iPad (presumably to replace the iPad Air) and a new iPad mini that would clock in between the 8.5 and 9-inch size. That means it would have a screen at least half an inch bigger than the current iPad mini display. 

16 April 2020: Mini-LED iPads could be delayed until 2021, could be 5G

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggests that a new iPad featuring Mini-LED could be delayed until early 2021. This may not be for any reason other than we have already had an iPad Pro refresh in 2020 and so it makes sense to space things out because the iPad Pro is the most likely to get the new display. At that point, a new iPad Pro at that point is likely to be released with 5G on board.

2 December 2019: Could new iPads have Mini-LED displays?

This report - via 9to5Mac - suggested that upcoming iPad displays will switch to Mini-LED and that other products will also go the same way, with the MacBook Pro 16-inch also switching to the upgraded tech during 2020, possibly at the same time as a MacBook Pro 14-inch is launched to replace the current 13-inch. 

It was also suggested new iPads could be based around a beefed-up Apple A14X processor. 

4 October 2019: Apple might have a haptic on-screen keyboard in the future so you can feel the 'keys'

Could Apple have a tactile touchscreen keyboard on its iPads in the future? A patent, discovered by Patently Apple, shows a next-gen haptics tech known as Static Pattern Electrostatic Haptic Electrodes. A variety of voltages could be applied which would make typing on the device feel different.

Patently Apple

The site said such efforts could mean that touchscreen keyboards could, in future, potentially emulate the feel of more traditional keyboards - even with concave-feeling 'keys' - so users would be able to find their place on the keyboard without looking down at it. 

Writing by Dan Grabham.