What’s the rumored release date for the next iPad Pro? What spec speculation has there been? Will it have a new form and new features? Here’s our roundup!
The original iPad was an iPhone gone IMAX and the first successful tablet the world had ever seen. Since then the iPad has gone mini, gone Pro, and totally gone mainstream. Current models include the iPad mini 4, budget iPad 9.7-inch, all-new iPad Pro 10.5-inch, and the second-generation iPad Pro 12.9.
So, what comes next? This article is continuously updated to include the latest news and rumors so you can be among the first to find out. Bookmark it, save it, share it, and check back often!
While iPhone release dates have been stable for years, iPad release dates have varied greatly. iPad 3 was followed by iPad 4 a mere 6-months later, but iPad Pro wasn’t followed by iPad 2 until almost 18 months later. Here are the dates so far:
- April 2010: Original iPad
- March 2011: iPad 2
- March 2012: iPad 3
- November 2012: iPad 4 and iPad mini 1
- November 2013: iPad Air and iPad mini 2
- October 2014: iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3
- September 2015: iPad mini 4
- November 2015: iPad Pro (12.9-inch)
- March 2016: iPad Pro (9.7-inch)
- March 2017: iPad (9.7-inch)
- June 2017: iPad Pro (10.5-inch) and iPad Pro (12.9-inch 2nd generation.)
So, while it’s possible we could see new iPads Pro in the spring of 2018, the fall of 2018 or spring/summer of 2019 seems more likely.
Will iPad Pro 3 get the new, edge-to-edge design?
Apple’s current design language debuted with iPod touch and iPad mini and quickly spread to the regular sized iPad, then evolved again for iPhone 6. It was all about flat, rounded, and eventually curved casings with minimal bezels on the size but big foreheads and chins on the top and bottom.
iPhone X represents the next generation of Apple design language — edge-to-edge OLED displays, bound by stainless steel bands, with a distinctive “horn” design that fills the top left and right corners but leaves a TrueDepth camera unit in between.
Whether that design language comes to iPad Pro 3 or future generation iPads is the question. Certainly iPads, by virtue of their size, suffer less from bezels taking away screen real-estate. They even benefit from them by virtue of being easier to hold.
Apple making the new iPads look like the new iPhones is also counter to how the company thinks. When similarities exist they’re not so one device looks like another. They’re because identical purposes have lead to identical implementations.
Horns could easily find their way onto iPad but only if they suit just exactly what Apple wants to do with iPad.
OLED is an incredible display technology that allows for thinner designs, higher brightness levels, and greater contrast. But every technology has bad points to go along with the good. One of the biggest for OLED remains supply.
Companies are already struggling to make enough OLED for iPhone X. Making enough for iPads as well will certainly be a challenge.
Hopefully, we’ll see it sooner rather than later, though. Just the idea of displays that large having ProMotion and full-on HDR is beyond compelling.
Will iPad Pro 3 lose the Home button? The 3.5mm headphone jack?
Manufacturers, and not just Apple, are increasingly removing hardware buttons and ports because they see them as points of mechanical failure.
iPhone 7 didn’t just ditch the 3.5mm headphone jack, it ditched the mechanical Home button as well, replacing it with a virtual Home button.
iPhone X took it a step further and deleted the Home button entirely. Apple hasn’t begun that process on iPad yet, and given the greater size, it might be a while before the company feels any pressure to begin it at all.
So, even if it’s not with iPad Pro 3, the future currently points to the Home button and 3.5mm headphone jack going away — at least eventually.
Could iPad Pro 3 be waterproof?
Apple started dabbling in water resistance with iPhone 6s, using gaskets and seals to protect against accidental splashes and dips. With iPhone 7, Apple went all in on official water resistance and both iPhone 8 and iPhone X are protected against dust and liquid ingress as well.
iPad hasn’t benefited from any of that. At least not yet.
The accidental immersion rates for tablets is probably lower than it is for phones simply due to usage levels and situations, but the ability to use an iPad at the beach, in a tub, or even when caught in a sudden storm would be hugely beneficial.
Can iPad Pro 3 finally get 3D Touch, please?
Apple currently provides pressure sensitivity to iPad Pro via Apple Pencil. 3D Touch, the way it’s implemented on iPhone 8 simply doesn’t scale to the larger screen. The new version, as implemented on iPhone X, might. Of course, Apple would still have to figure out a way for the Taptic Engine (or Engines) to accurately project tactile responses across the larger surface area.
USB-C — any chance for iPads Pro 3?
Apple switched to Lightning in 2012. It would certainly be useful for some pro or cross-device users to have USB-C on iPad, there doesn’t seem to be much chance of Apple switching again anytime soon.
Perhaps Apple could add a USB-C port to iPads Pro in addition to Lightning, but it seems more likely Apple will simply continue to offer the Lightning to USB-C adapter for those who want it.
Will Apple bring wireless charging to iPad Pro?
The biggest new feature for iPhone 8, and one of the biggest for iPhone X, is inductive charging. Simply drop your phone on a charging pad and the battery starts to replenish.
To do it, though, Apple had to switch back to glass backs on iPhone, and customers had to put up with the added convenience at the expense of speed. And iPads already take a long time to charge. Even at USB-C fast-charging speed.
Wireless is the future and Apple can figure out some way to make it work, but it’s just as likely iPad will take longer before it sees that future.
Apple A11 or A11X chipset is a sure thing?
Apple has been improving on its in-house designed chipset for the last six years. It’s almost impossible to believe we won’t see the introduction of an A11X in the 2018 iPad Pros, a variant of this year’s A11 Bionic chip found in the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X.
With it will come the new image signal processor (ISP) for photos, the neural engine block for machine learning, the custom GPU for better graphics performance, and the ability to use all performance and efficiency cores all at once for greater scalability.
On iPad especially, the extra power and performance will be appreciated.