When will the Apple release its next iPad Pro, and what will it look like? Read on for the iPad Pro 2’s likely release date, specs, new features, design & UK price rumours.
The iPad Pro 2 launch is an exciting prospect – but we may have to wait a bit longer until we see it announced. Apple made a splash in September 2015 when it unveiled its first giant tablet: a device known at the time only as the iPad Pro and equipped with a blockbuster 12.9-inch screen, quad speakers and a super-quick processor chip.
The following March a smaller and frankly better 9.7-inch version of the iPad Pro came out, creating mild naming complications (we now call them the iPad Pro 12.9 and iPad Pro 9.7 respectively) and kindling a degree of regret in the hearts of early adopters.
But we are now looking ahead to the future of the iPad Pro line. When will Apple release the new iPad Pro 2 for 2017, and what new features and design changes will this product incorporate? Will there be separate 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch editions of the iPad Pro 2 – will there even be a 7.9-inch model, a sort of iPad Pro mini, or a new 10.5-inch iPad Pro 2?
Our iPad Pro 2 release date & new features rumour roundup weighs up all the clues, hints and evidence about the new iPad Pro models for 2017, including the recent suggestion of an iPad Pro 2 with an 120Hz display, along with our wishlist of new features that are missing from the current generation of iPad Pro hardware.
When will the iPad Pro 2 come out?
MacRumors claimed that Apple would announce new products in late March 2017, with the most likely dates between 20 and 24 March. While the source was partly correct, as Apple did introduce a new iPad along with a new iPhone 7 colour option and a host of other changes, the iPad Pro 2 was absent.
So, when should we expect the second-generation iPad Pro?
DigiTimes quotes “Taiwan-based supply chain makers” who say production of the planned 10.5-inch iPad has been brought forward to March (from a previously planned May-June schedule) and will be unveiled at an event in early April. This event will mark the inauguration of the new Apple Park campus, the site says. (Apple has announced that Apple Park will open in April 2017, although work on the headquarters will continue for some time afterwards.)
During Apple’s September 2016 event, there was no mention of the iPad line (focusing instead on the iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2), while its October event showcased a smart if costly new MacBook Pro. If it had a new iPad Pro up its sleeve, surely Apple could have found time at one of these events to mention it… which suggests to us that the iPad Pro 2 is being held back until later in 2017.
DigiTimes believes Apple will delay the release date of some 2017 iPads: namely the new 10.5in iPad, which we go into detail about below, and the iPad Pro 2. The site claimed that Apple would announce a cheaper 9.7in iPad to replace the iPad Air 2 at an event in March (which ended up being true).
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However, while the new 9.7in iPad will ship fairly soon after the announcement, sources claim the iPad Pro 2 and 10.5in iPad won’t be released until May or June. Time will tell, and we’ll keep you in the loop.
One iPad launch event, or two?
As with the two strands of iPhone models – the mid-size iPhone 7 and large-screen iPhone 7 Plus, both launched in September 2016, and the smaller iPhone SE, released in March 2016 – there are two schools of thought here. Either Apple will unify the two Pro brands into a single annual update event, or it will continue to update half the models in spring and the other half in autumn.
Both theories have downsides. If, as now looks likely, Apple does a full refresh (9.7-in and 12.9-inch iPad Pro together) in Spring 2017, then the current hardware will be starting to feel old before then – the original Pro will be 18 months old, which is a long time to be the most expensive tablet on Apple’s books.
There’s also something a bit messy, a bit un-Apple, about having two press event to announce what would essentially amount to two SKUs of the same product line. I think the company will want to keep things simple.
A final thought, however, is that people don’t update their iPads as often as their iPhones: only 6 percent of the respondents to our poll said they get a new iPad every year. It’s therefore, debatable whether Apple actually needs to bring out new iPads this often. It could probably switch to a biennial release schedule without causing much of a problem.