A second-generation iPad Pro model with a screen measuring 9.7 inches diagonally could launch as early as next week, according to a new report Wednesday by reliable Japanese blog Mac Otakara. The publication’s sources describe the forthcoming device as a modest upgrade over the current 9.7-inch iPad Pro, which released in March 2016 following the September 2015 introduction of the original 12.9-inch iPad Pro model.

Aside from a faster A10X Fusion chip (an improved version of iPhone 7’s A10 Fusion processor), the tablet should utilize quad speakers like existing models. It’s thought to replace the iPad mini lineup to become Apple’s new entry-level tablet offering.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo called for a trio of new iPads this year: the aforesaid 9.7-inch iPad Pro 2, a second-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro and a brand new iPad model with a 10.5-inch screen squeezed into a body the same size like 9.7-inch iPads, courtesy of a lot skinnier side bezels.

Supply chain sources claim Apple might have moved mass production of the 10.5-inch iPad Pro from May-June to March. That device could launch in April, but it’s unclear if Apple will dedicate a media event to introduce the new 10.5-inch tablet.

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Analytics firm Fiksu spotted four unreleased iPads being tested in Cupertino.

All iPads introduced this year will use liquid crystal displays like prior models. Radically overhauled iPads with AMOLED screens are not to be expected before 2018.

Reputable supply chain sources told MacRumors that the Cupertino firm could announce some new products between Monday, March 20 and Friday, March 24. It’s fairly safe to assume, given a modest upgrade, that the upcoming 9.7-inch iPad Pro 2 will be announced quietly via a press release and a website update.

Aside from new iPads, Mac Otakara thinks a March event may serve as a launchpad for a 128-gigabyte model of iPhone SE, spring-themed Apple Watch bands and the previously rumored Red color option for the iPhone 7 series.

Source: Mac Otakara (Google Translate)

  • Lane Fries

    The current iPad Pro 9.7 already has “quad speakers”. So… were we assuming they were going to go back to two?

    • Vince Palmer

      Exactly. And going from an A10 to an A10 Fusion chip doesn’t seem like a big jump. Also I don’t really understand how this iPad Pro 2 would replace the current iPad mini in terms of price point when the iPad Pros are currently the most expensive ones…

      I think the analysts got their sources mixed up. This could be the iPad Air 3, replacing the current iPad Air 2 with some features of the iPad Pro and a slightly faster chip.
      The new iPad Pro would be the “bezel-free” one.

      • CAIO MARIOZ

        *A9X to A10X

      • Blip dude

        Again, what’s the big jump here?? A11X and hybrid OS is needed here otherwise it’s just a minor update as always.

      • CAIO MARIOZ

        The OS updates in September

  • 5723alex .

    No A11X CPU, no buy.

  • Troy

    You guys think Apple will eventually add 3D Touch?

  • Alex Alegre

    this is becoming a total waste of time

  • Sohail Wahab

    The only think I want from this generation is that the Apple Pencil ✏️ should attach on some side of the iPad and charge itself. I hate the way they charge. Also fast charging. I love the 12.9 inch iPad Pro.

  • Felipe Queiroz Drumond

    It is not clear whether the iPad mini will be replaced by the “aforesaid 9.7-inch iPad Pro 2″ or will keep the 7.9″ display. I hope Apple brings a 7.9”!

  • Dae

    I just want a updated Apple pencil. The 1st one is too fat and should adapt a magnetic stick in mechanism