The word on the street is that Apple will unveil three new iPads in 2017: an entry-level 9.7in iPad that will replace the iPad Air 2, and two iPad Pros with screen sizes of 10.5- and 12.9in. Here we round up all the rumours about what to expect from the second-generation iPad Pro, including its UK release date, price and specs. See: Best new tablets coming 2017.
Here's a summary of what to expect at a 2017 iPad launch:
- New 12.9in iPad Pro with new A10X processor (plus other upgrades) and updated Apple Pencil 2
- New 10.1-10.5in iPad Pro with the new A10X processor, ultra-thin bezels (and possibly no physical home button) and updated Apple Pencil 2
- New 'low-cost' 9.7in iPad with A9 or A9X processor (the iPad Air 3 maybe)
Update 21 February: Japanese site Macotakara reports that a source has said Apple is indeed launching new iPads - including the 12.9in Pro 2 - in March. And a new iPhone SE (if only with increased storage) and new iPhone 7 models (if only new colour options) will also be launched at the special event.
This contradicts other rumours, which claim the trio of new iPads for 2017 probably won't be announced until the second half of the year. If this is true, they'll probably share stage time with the new iPhones. One reason cited for the delay is poor yields of the new 10nm processors. Read more.
iPad Pro 2 release date
Expected launch date: March 2017 OR September 2017
The original iPad Pro, reviewed, launched in September 2015 and the 9.7in arrived in March 2016. We suspected an iPad Pro 2 reveal (and maybe a new iPad mini or an iPad Air 3) in September 2016, but it didn't happen.
Some rumours say the new generation of processors aren't ready and will cause the iPads to be delayed until the second half of the year. The current A9X chip - which is used by both iPad Pro models - is based on the 16nm FinFET process. This is the same used by the latest generation of graphics cards from Nvidia and AMD. In order to produce a chip with significantly faster performance without high power consumption, Apple is having to move to a 10nm process. Rumours say that very poor yields of the new chips mean that the vast quantities Apple needs to launch new iPads are simply not going to be available until later in the year.
If anything, Apple may choose to combine the launch of the iPads with the new iPhones (which could also use 10nm processors) and hold an event at it's usual time in September. However, this is speculation at this point and we'll have to wait and see.
A new piece of information that indicates Apple is working on a new iPad Pro is the below patent for a new Smart Keyboard. It shows new features such as search and share buttons - via Patently Apple.
iPad Pro 2 new features
A new concept video shows what the iPad Pro 2 might look like with a 10.5in screen and features from the iPhone 7 Plus such as the dual-camera.
Well-known industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has predicted there will be three new iPads launching in 2017. He says there will be a new 12.9in iPad Pro - the iPad Pro 2 - and also a new model with a 10.5in screen, no bezels and no home button on the front, which should appeal to, well, everyone. The new tablets (as you'd expect) will have a faster processor, probably called the A10X. Recently he slightly revised his predictions, specifically to say that delays in manufacturing the new CPUs could mean we won't see any new iPads until the second half of the year.
The report also talks about "revolutionary" changes to the iPad range in 2018, which some are taking to mean radical changes such as a flexible AMOLED display. The latest from Barclays Research analysts, as reported by MacRumours, is that the middle-size iPad will have a 10.9in screen, not 10.5. Many seem to suggest the larger display will fit in a chassis no bigger than the current 9.7in iPad.
Another rumour about the Pad Pro 2 says Apple is working on adding better support into iOS for the Apple Pencil, the optional stylus which works with only select apps on the iPad Pro models. Apple might add the enhanced support when it launches the new iPads in 2017 as an update to iOS 10. However, it may wait and introduce them in iOS 11. The improvements are unclear, but it could be possible to use the Pencil to annotate in many more stock apps including Mail, Messages, Safari and others. The Pencil should work with the upcoming 10.5in iPad Pro and this would leave only the iPad mini with no stylus support.
The Pencil itself should also receive an update, according to rumours on (not always credible) Weibo, and the Apple Pencil 2 is expected to attach to the iPad's body using magnets and feature a pocket clip. Mac Observer points out that Apple does not currently hold a patent for a magnetic attachment to the iPad, however.
The rumours also say that the iPad Pro 2 "will include faster display technology that allows for smoother zooming, panning and scrolling".
iPad Pro 2 specs
When it launched, the original iPad Pro didn't come in a 256GB storage capacity but Apple add it to the line-up at the same time as the introduction of the iPad Pro 9.7. We expect the iPad Pro 2 to come in the same storage options which are currently available.
The iPad Pro 2 is sure to come in Rose Gold which is now available in most of Apple's other products including the iPhone and MacBook.
It's fairly easy to predict that Apple will bring the specs of the iPad Pro 2 to at least match the 9.7in model. That means adding the True Tone display which automatically adjusts the white balance for a more realistic experience, the 12Mp iSight camera with Live Photos and 4K video recording and the 5Mp front FaceTime HD camera with a Retina Flash.
Those changes would make the iPad Pro 2 level with the current 2016 iPad Pro but it wouldn't be Apple if there weren't some features not seen before on an iPad. This could simply come in the form of a new processor but we hope for more since the current A9X is more than dependable.
iPad Pro 2 price
We expect that Apple will keep prices the same as for the current iPad Pro 12.9:
- 32GB: £679; $799
- 128GB: £799; $949
- 256GB: £919; $1099
If you're after Wi-Fi + Cellular prices, the current prices are as follows:
- 128GB: £899; $1079
- 256GB: £1019; $1229
It would be nice, though, if the base model came with 64GB rather than 32GB.
This is all speculation on our part, but as rumours emerge we'll add them here. We are perhaps a little too far away from the launch for anything juicy so check back soon.
iPad Pro 2 leaks
There have been very few leaks. AppleInsider posted an image which supposedly shows a prototype of the iPad Pro 2.
In the image, the Settings app is open and reveals the model number of the device - "MH1C2CD/F". This doesn't match any existing models of iPad and, although it follows Apple's numbering covention, it is fairly easy to spoof this information.
It's also interesting to note that both iPads apparently have only 12GB of storage - this could be due to the prototype status, as Apple may not want to use 128GB of storage for a prototype.
Either way, these iPads are definitely not existing iPad Pro units. However with that being said, it's not confirmation that these are photos of prototype second-generation iPad Pros, as the images could still have been doctored. Unfortunately, there are no images of the sides or rear of the device so there's no hint at what hardware the iPad Pro 2 could feature, but we imagine the iPad Pro 2 leaks will become more common as time goes on and we'll be updating this article regularly.