Apple rumored to launch 5G iPad Pro with support for mmWave

There are several different 5G technologies already out there, which means smartphone manufacturers have to make decisions about which to support in their devices.

While some companies have opted out of certain technologies, others are rumored to be supporting all of them in one package. Apple, if the latest rumor holds true, will be in the latter category later this year with the expected arrival of the iPhone 12 lineup. And now it looks like Apple is working on a 5G-enabled iPad Pro, too.

That’s based on a paywalled report from DigiTimes today (via MacRumors). The report states that Advanced Semiconductor Engineering, based out of Taiwan, will be tapped to supply antenna-in-package technology for the upcoming 5G iPad, which will reportedly support the faster mmWave technology. As noted in the report, it’s not specifically indicated that this will be an iPad Pro model, but considering the higher costs related to production tied to 5G, it’s a safe bet that less expensive iPad models won’t be the first to jump on the 5G bandwagon.

As for why it’s good news that the 5G iPad Pro will support the faster mmWave technology, it really does come down to speeds. It’s best suited for congested areas, and typically offers faster speeds than the other sub-6GHz 5G. However, it offers worse support for overall distance, which the sub-6GHz 5G technology can better handle for rural areas.

When will this 5G-equipped iPad Pro arrive? Unfortunately the report does not give us a launch window. It’s expected that Apple is going to launch 5G-equipped iPhones before the end of 2020, so it’s possible that a 5G iPad Pro could see the light of day this year, too. There have been plenty of rumors that new iPad Pro models could launch sometime in the first half of 2020.

However, it’s a safer bet that the iPhone lineup will be the first Apple-branded mobile products to support 5G, and that when an iPad Pro (or iPad in general) does launch with the wireless technology support baked inside, it will be sometime after the smartphones. If that is indeed the case, 5G iPad Pro models could see the light of day in early 2021.

Simply put, it’s not surprising to hear that Apple is working towards a 5G-enabled iPad and/or iPad Pro. 5G is just going to be the standard wireless option for the major networks soon enough, so of course the company is making inroads to support the technologies for its other mobile products.

Still, the question is: do we have to wait just a few months to get a 5G iPad Pro, or a whole year? What do you think?