Tablet sales have gone off the boil, which explains why there weren’t many new models launched in 2017. Even Apple appears to have ditched its smallest tablet with no new iPad mini for over two years.
But the iPad Pro range certainly isn’t being ignored with a new 10.5in model introduced in June 2017. Analysts are pointing to a similar time frame for the next generation in 2018.
When is the iPad Pro 2018 release date?
Apple chose its developer conference in June to announce new iPads in 2017, so it may well do something similar this year. WWDC has now been confirmed for 4 June 2018, so expect that to be the day we see new iPads.
Rosenblatt Securities analyst Jun Zhang says Apple will indeed announce – and start taking preorders on – the new iPad this June, and that there should be between six- to eight million units ready for launch day.
Alternatively it may wait until later in the year and combine several launches – including new iPhones – into one event. That’s what a Bloomberg report into Apple’s new processors claims (see more details below).
Right now, no-one knows and until we hear more leaks from the supply chain, we’re just using educated guesswork. Supply chain leaks are usually a good indicator of how far through the design / test / production process a product is.
What new features will the iPad Pro 2018 have?
One rumour comes from a KGI Securities report. Ming-Chi Kuo, writing in autumn 2017 said that the next-generation iPad Pro would likely feature Face ID using the tech from the iPhone X.
Now, code has been found in a beta version of iOS which refers to a ‘modern iPad’. That’s significant as modern was the code word used for the iPhone X.
Of course, this is still vague and unspecific, but it does point the way to a redesigned iPad with, presumably, a TrueDepth camera.
If that happens, it could mean that the iPad will also support Animoji – the iPhone X’s ability to create animated emoji videos using the new camera – and also take selfies with a depth effect.
Returning to the Bloomberg report, it says that the new iPads will probably include Apple’s custom-designed GPU and AI chip which it first used in the iPhone 8 and X. It also states that Apple has been ‘poaching’ engineers from Qualcomm, which could well be to bolster its range of own-design chips.
Previously iPhones and iPads have used Qualcomm or Intel chips for Wi-Fi and LTE, so it’s another area (like graphics) where Apple likely wants to eliminate the need to buy in chips from other suppliers.
Will it have a home button and headphone jack?
That’s pretty much where the rumours end, but if you look at the trend in iPhones, it isn’t difficult to apply that to the iPad as well. So while the iPad Pro 2018 may not take every element from the iPhone X’s design, it could spell the end for the 3.5mm headphone jack and even the home button.
You’d think that losing the home button would take a long while to adjust to, but on the iPhone X you barely notice after a day or two.
Producing an iPad with no home button means the screen bezels can be reduced and it’s also one less thing to go wrong: fewer buttons and ports are a good thing from a reliability standpoint.
Who knows, it could also pave the way for an IP rating and the first ‘waterproof’ iPad.
As and when more rumours surface, we’ll be sure to update this article so keep it bookmarked.