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!
September 10, 2018: iPad Pro X going all-in on USB-C... says latest rumor
Persistent supply-chain exfilitrator, Ming-Chi Kuo is back with a pre-event update for his clients, including information on the upcoming iPad Pro (2018).
In addition to Face ID support, we expect the new iPad Pro models' main upgrade to include replacing Lightning with a USB-C interface and bundling with a new unibody design 18W power adapter, which cancels the removable plug design…
It's unclear if Kuo is saying iPad Pro will swap out its traditional Lightning port for a USB-C port or if it will simply come with a USB-C adapter instead of a USB-A adapter.
Unlike iPhone, iPad Pro is probably thick enough to support a full-on USB-C port, and while switching will annoy people with existing accessories, it could provide enough added compatibility with a wider, more powerful range of peripherals going forward.
Then there's this:
Apple could announce the new iPad Pro as soon as its September 12, 2018 event, or at any time thereafter.
August 27, 2018: iPad Pro X again rumored to delete bezels, Home button — and mini
As September draws near, rumors are starting to solidify around the next-generation of iPads Pro. (iPad Pro X?).
The new iPad Pros will come in sizes around 11-inches and 12.9-inches and include slimmer bezels. They'll remove the home button and fingerprint sensing in lieu of an iPhone X-like gesture interface and Face ID for unlocking the tablet, people familiar with the plans said. The iPad mini, which was last upgraded in 2015, and the 9.7-inch iPad, last refreshed in March, won't be upgraded, a person familiar with the company's plans said.
Sad news for iPad mini fans. But, as iPhones get larger, the space between regular iPad and iPhone starts to disappear.
July 20, 2018: iPad Pro (2018) rumored to delete the headphone jack... and go to vertical keyboard connector?!
It's silly season, so...
The microphone at the top of the head, and the upper part of the back joins together to create stereo microphone specifications with 2 microphones at the top of the head. The requirement for a 3.5 mm headphone jack disappears.
Face ID is installed - therefore it is impossible to release the lock with the main unit turned sideways, or when the position of the Smart Connector (previously located on the side) has been moved to the lower rear side - close to the Lightning connector.
For this reason, the next iPad Pro Smart Keyboard may be changed to vertical position specifications.
I can see Apple removing the headphone jack to save space in a low-bezel iPad world — though it will suck for audio professionals who then have to use a Lightning splitter just to change and rock at the same time.
Moving the keyboard to vertical, the way it was when iPad 1 shipped in 2010 sounds goofy though. Apple could make Face ID landscape-only if the neural engine optimizations were still restricted to one orientation... Though, a year later, it seems less likely that's the case.
July 5, 2018: Three new iPad models pop up in Eurasian Economic Commission database
Three new entries for three new iPads have been found in the database for the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC), which oversees the sale of electronics in Armenian, Belorussian, Kazakh, Kyrgyz and Russian.
According to Consomac:
- Apple Tablet PCs Model A1876 (iOS 11 Software Version)
- "Apple" brand tablet PCs model A2013 (iOS 11 software version)
- PC tablets of the brand "Apple" models A1934, A1979, A2014 (iOS 11 software version)
Yeah, this is like a good, old-fashioned FCC leak but from Eastern Europe instead of the United States. There's still more than a step twixt a database and a store shelf, though. So, consider this for what it is: One more sign that new iPads are coming.
July 2, 2018: Animoji for iPad discovered in iOS 12 code
Add that to iOS 12 for iPad including an empty spot in the status bar where the notch would be, and iPhone X-style gestures, and, yeah... This fall should be fun.
June 4, 2018: iOS 12 for iPad beta has... iPhone X-style status bar and gestures
Things that make you go "Hmmmmmmm....": If you install the brand new iOS 12 developer beta on your iPad, two very iPhone X-style things pop out at you:
- There's nothing in the middle of the status bar anymore, almost as though it's waiting on a notch.
- The gestures from iOS 11 are gone and replaced with the ones that work without the need for a Home button.
It's odd that Apple would release software that seems intended for unreleased hardware, but who knows? No new iPads Pro at WWDC, but the fall is only a few months away...
March 13, 2018: 11-inch iPad Pro rumored for WWDC 2018
Another week, another supply chain rumor about the next-generation of iPads Pro — this time with an 11-inch display.
From Economic Daily (Google translated):
Apple is expected to organize a developer conference (WWDC) in June this year. According to foreign reports, Apple will release a new iPad series. Among them, the new iPad Pro will be introduced to introduce face recognition and new processors. [...]
It is reported that this year Apple is expected to launch the new iPad Pro is about 11 inches.
The 11-inch screen could be the result of Apple reducing the size of the bezels on the current 10.5-inch iPad Pro but keeping the same casing. The new processors would almost certainly be the Apple A11 Bionic, introduced with iPhone 8, and powering Face ID in iPhone 10.
When will iPad Pro 3 be released?
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, summer/fall 2018 seems like the next best window for iPad refresh.
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.
What about OLED displays on the iPad Pro 3?
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 A12 chipset for next-generation iPad?
When Apple last updated the iPad Pro, A10 Fusion was all the rage. No, it's A11 Bionic but with A12 [Redacted] about to be released on or around the same time. Would Apple put a year-old chipset in the brand-new iPads Pro, or give them the same best-in-class silicon iPhone X2 is about to get?
It may depend on how many A12 chipsets Apple can produce in the critical holiday quarter to meet iPhone demand.
Will there be an iPad mini Pro?
iPad mini Pro has been rumored, off and on, ever since the original iPad Pro launched in 2015. Given how phones have gotten bigger, and the previous iPad Pro went from 9.7- to 10.5-inches, it's unclear whether Apple has any interest in pushing the mini line any further. (And figuring out a useable Smart Keyboard at that size.)
Steve Jobs was famously against tiny tablets, though Eddy Cue later convinced him to give it the go ahead. Many people still love it but it's also possible it was simply a stop-gap as phones continued to improve.
What do we know for sure about iPad Pro 3?
Nothing. And it'll stay that way until Apple announces it.