Today is the fifth anniversary of the launch of the original iPad. Half a decade later, demand for Apple’s tablet offerings have started to slip, but many hope the company can turn things around with a larger model designed for business users.
Rumors of this device, generally refered to as the iPad Pro, have been circulating since 2013 and these unconfirmed reports give a fairly complete overview of what this model will have to offer … assuming they turn out to be correct, of course.
Screen Size: Large
The rumors about this device center around it having a 12.9-inch display, making it noticeably larger than the 9.7-inch iPad Air 2, Apple’s current flagship model. The resolution will reportedly be 2732 x 2048 (265 ppi).
Ostensibly, the idea behind this change is to make this tablet more appealing to business users, who prefer bigger displays because they work on computers all day long. The larger screen would certainly make this model more expensive than the Air 2, but businesspeople are generally willing to pay more for premium products.
There have also been rumors that Apple is going to add some form of split-screen multitasking to iOS, which would allow users to display two or more applications side by side.
Update: Apple has officially revealed that iOS 9, coming this fall, will include split-screen multitasking.
A recent unconfirmed report from the Wall Street Journal indicates that the iPad Pro could include a USB 3.0 port to allow the device to transfer data and charge faster than the Lightning port. What’s more, the source behind that rumor indicated that keyboards and mice may also be compatible with the tablet.
Leaked images coming out of Asia show that this might be a USB-C port, which would be located on the side of the device, rather than taking the place of the current Lightning port on the bottom edge.
The ability to use USB peripherals is apparently another move intended to make the iPad Pro more appealing to businesspeople, as it would function more like a traditional laptop than earlier models.
Apple Stylus: Optional
Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, who has a good record for predicting Apple’s future moves, says a stylus will be announced at the same time as the iPad Pro. This will supposedly be a pressure-sensitive pen, similar to third-party ones already available, such as the Just Mobile AluPen Digital.
The analyst doesn’t think this accessory will be bundled with any Apple tablet, but will be sold separately.
On the Outside and the Inside
The iPad Pro is expected to resemble a larger version of the iPad Air 2, with a slim design and narrow screen bezels.
This rumored model is also purportedly going to have a lot in common with the Air 2 internally as well, running a tri-core, 64-bit Apple A8X processor, with 2 GB of RAM. It’s also possible that an even faster A9 processor might power this tablet.
Other features that are already part of Apple’s latest tablet are likely to carry over include the TouchID security system and support for 802.11ac.
If any of the rumors of a new screen resolution, the addition of split-screen multitasking, or a USB port pan out then this largest iPad would almost certainly come running iOS 9, a new iteration of this operating system.
Release Date: Q3
Over the many months that rumors about the Apple iPad Pro have circulated, naturally the expected release date has moved back many times. The most recent reports indicate that this model will be introduced in the third quarter of 2015.
The cost is expected to fall between the $500 iPad Air 2 and the $1,000 MacBook Air, as that’s where it would fit in Apple’s product lineup.