Apple has been rumoured to have been working on a larger, business-focused iPad for some time now, with new internal details, alleged specs and features emerging online every few weeks. Here is everything we know so far, including the slated reveal date.
The iPad Pro and iPad mini 4
Should the rumours prove correct, the new iPad – dubbed the iPad Pro by Apple fans – would be Apple’s largest yet. A new iPad mini 4 is also expected to make an appearance during the big reveal. Thaiwanese siteDigitimes has claimed the iPad Air 2 will not see a third generation model reveal during the same event.
Bigger is better
The iPad Air 2, released in October last year, measures 9.7-inches diagonally, while the mini 3 clocks in at 7.9-inches. Leaks suggest the iPad pro – or iPad Plus – will measure between 12.2 – 12.9-inches, with dimensions of 305.3 x 220.8 x 7mm.
The resolution is believed to be 2732 x 2048 with 263 ppi (compared to the current iPad Air 2’s 2048 x 1536), following some digging by analystics company AppSee into their logs.
A display that size would be bigger than the most recently announced 12-inch MacBook, and would suggest a move away from casual web browsing and gaming and into more business-facing ventures. A larger display could also mean the long-awaited introduction of multi-tasking for iOS, allowing users to run multiple apps on-screen simultaneously as announced with iOS 9 at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference in June.
The screen is also alleged to sport improved touch latency for using Apple Watch feature Force Touch – which makes it possible to perform a variety of different actions in different apps using the same surface – and use with a Bluetooth-enabled stylus assembled by manufacturer Cheng Uei.
Apple could be poised to reverse its long-standing aversion to styli. Former chief executive Steve Jobs was vocal in his dislike of the accessory, saying in 2007: “Who wants a stylus? You have to get them and put them away, you lose them, yuck! Nobody wants a stylus.”
A report from respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo in January claimed the Californian company intends to produce an accompanying stylusbased on a number of stylus themed patents Apple has filed and his own research, AppleInsider has reported.
Apple has filed numerous patents around stylus use with iPads in the past, but no official Apple product has made it to market as of yet. Styli manufactured by third parties have been on sale since the introduction of the very first iPad in 2010.
The pressure-sensitive stylus could be developed to support 3D handwriting and wireless charging in the future, he said, but it’s unlikely these features would be included in any product released in 2015.
A stylus is another indication the product is destined for an enterprise / student market given the handwriting recognition and precision it affords. Last year, the company teamed up with IBM to create mobile apps for businesses and for IBM to help sell iPads to corporate customers.
What will it look like?
in January, a user on China’s Weibo microblogging site posted a photo of what appeared to be a mould for the rear shell of the tablet, with an estimated display size of 12-13 inches. The photo was simply labeled “iPad Pro”.
The picture of the reported mould was uploaded to WeiboThe photo was reportedly taken at Apple manufacturer Foxconn’s factory in China. Although the image is blurred, it does appear to show a faint impression of an Apple logo in the centre and perhaps a rear camera feature in a corner.
When will it be available?
Production has been rumoured to be delayed until September over issues with the display panels, people familiar with the matters told Bloomberg. Apple’s display suppliers include Sharp, Japan Display and LG Display, according to the company’s supplier list. Share prices at all three companies fell in March following the news.
The time frame suggests the iPad Pro could be announced alongside the next cycle of iPhones, believed to be called the iPhone 6s, alongside a new Apple TV expected to be on Wednesday September 9, or at a separate event in October like the iPad Air 2 and mini 3’s launch event, should Apple choose to stick to the launch cycle of recent years.
MacRumours has speculated that logs from analytics company AppSee found an iPad with a resolution of 2,732 x 2,048 in its logs running iOS 9.1, suggesting that is the version the iPad Pro will ship with – pointing to a late October or even November event.
KGI predicts that Apple stands to sell up to 5.5 million iPad Pros before the end of the year, and just under one million styli.