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.
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.